Reformed Sunderland heroin addict fell back into crime with B&M raid after meeting former associate

A former heroin addict who quit crime after falling into a coma stole from a shop after bumping into a former associate.

By Gareth Crickmer
Monday, 18th April 2022, 4:55 am

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George Waters, 37, of Carley Road, Southwick, gave up criminality in 2020 after doctors warned his continued drug use was seriously detrimental to his wellbeing.

At the time, he had an unenviable record of 95 offences to his name, 45 being for thefts committed to fund his heroin habit, a court heard.

But he fell back into offending after meeting up with an ex-offender friend and they together pinched £204 of goods from discount store B&M.

A B&M sign.

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Prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court the offence happened at the retailer's store in The Green, Southwick, on Tuesday, October 12.

She said: “The defendant entered with another male. The other male remains outstanding and hasn’t been identified by police.

“They were seen by a member of staff who knew the defendant to be a well-known shoplifter.

“They took items and left the store, but the defendant was identified from CCTV.

“He denied the allegation in interview but pleads guilty today.”

Waters, whose past offences stem from 33 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to theft from a shop.

Defence solicitor Paul McAlindon said: “Half his offending is from thefts.

“It’s from an early age and from his addiction to heroin, including being dealt with by the youth court.

“In mid-2020 he was hospitalised with a coma and had problems due to heroin addiction. He detoxed and hasn’t used drugs since.

“He’s been told to be under no illusions that the damage to his heart, caused by heroin, is quite significant.

“He has not been in trouble since then. On this occasion, he bumped into the other gentleman who was someone he knew from his previous lifestyle.

“He says the temptation was too much and they went into the store and took the items. He is very disappointed with himself.”

District Judge Zoe Passfield told Waters it was a shame he was back before the court – and ordered him to pay £120 compensation to B&M.

She also fined him £80, with £85 court costs. There was no victim surcharge.