Shoplifter will miss birth of son after being jailed for carrying a knife when he stole goods from Wilkinson in Sunderland

A dad-to-be sarcastically told magistrates “nice one, yeah” when jailed for carrying a knife while stealing from a Sunderland shop - a sentence that will see him miss the birth of his child.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 2:18 pm

Nathan Cole, 36, made the remark as he was being handcuffed in courtroom number 4 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, after being given 26 weeks behind bars.

Chief magistrate Russell Hewitson had just told Cole his offence – his second for possession of a blade in public - was so serious nothing but imprisonment was possible.

Cole retorted: “I’m going to miss the birth of my son. Nice one, yeah”, as he was led away by security staff.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Nathan Cole

The court heard he was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting from Wilkinsons’ Sunderland outlet, in Fawcett Street, on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 20.

Magistrates were told that when Cole was detained he handed over small lock knife which he told officers he used to ‘cut carpets’.

Mr Hewitson told Cole he had no choice but to lock him up.

He said: “This is your second offence and it carries an automatic six-month sentence. We cannot see any reason for it to be suspended.”

Sunderland's Wilkinsons' store in Fawcett Street.

Prosecutor Keith Laidlaw told the court a plain-clothed store detective was working on the shop floor when his attention was drawn to a man and woman who entered.

He said: “They split up, and he follows the male to the first floor and sees him picking up some items, they are concealed and put inside a bag-for-life.

“They then return to the ground floor, and two bottles of washing up liquid are put in the bag. The male was detained outside.”

Mr Laidlaw said a police officer attended, with Cole producing the red-handled blade on request, and goods totalling £100.50 recovered.

He added: “Mr Cole tells him, ‘I use it to cut carpets’. When interviewed, he admitted he’d gone into the shop with the intention to steal.

“He said that it was in his pocket and he’d forgotten about it and had used it to cut carpet.”

In a Probation Service report ordered by magistrates, Cole said he had suffered a cash shortfall due to benefits changes and intended to sell the Wilkinsons items.

It revealed he had had issues with heroin use and stated: “It’s time for Mr Cole to change.”

Tom Morgan, defending, said Cole had started taking drugs when he was 20 and had also endured one significant recent family issue, adding: “He’s not a man who routinely carries knives during shop thefts.

“People going through a significant life issue have a good chance, if not a better chance, of cleaning themselves up. He’s trying to clean himself up.”

At an earlier hearing, Cole, of Prince Charles Avenue, Bowburn, had pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, theft and failing to surrender to bail.

His sentence includes three weeks to run concurrently for failing to surrender. He must pay £85 court costs and a £122 victim surcharge.