Shoplifter arrested after police chase is handed suspended jail sentence

A thief who stole from two stores has been handed a suspended prison term.
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Liam Howden, 25, of Tatham Street, Sunderland, was warned to stop misbehaving or risk the 20-week sentence being activated.

Howden and an accomplice swiped £96 worth of washing tablets from the Wilkinsons store in South Shields on Saturday, March 11.

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They then turned their attention to Asda’s outlet nearby, where they tried to make off with 11 steaks but were stopped by staff.

Liam HowdenLiam Howden
Liam Howden

Guilty pleasPolice picked up the scent via CCTV and Howden was stopped in his tracks at South Shields Metro station, after a short chase.

At Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to two charges of theft from a shop and one of failing to surrender to custody.

He also admitted breaching a community order, imposed in February after he pleaded guilty to seven shop thefts.

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Magistrates suspended his jail term for a year but warned him further failure to comply with the court's requirements could see him put behind bars.

Prosecutor Stephanie Cook said: “The defendant and a co-accused have entered Wilkinsons and taken washing capsules valued at £96.

“They then went to Asda and selected 11 steaks, valued at £77, but were apprehended as they left.

“This defendant was identified from CCTV at the Metro. He tried to outrun officers but was apprehended after a chase.”

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Richard Copsey, defending, said: “He says he was waiting for money to come through and that he needed to eat, and so stole things he could sell.

Community order revoked

“Motivation around the community order is the main issue. When it was made, he was homeless.

“He just couldn’t get his life together to comply with the order. He’s now got a place to live.”

Magistrates revoked Howden’s community order and jailed him for two weeks for each of the seven original thefts, to run consecutively.

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They jailed him for four weeks for his two latest thefts, to run concurrently to each other but consecutively to the other thefts.

And they imprisoned him for two weeks for failing to surrender to custody, to run consecutively.

They also imposed 25 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and a £154 victim surcharge.