Sunderland Debenhams store hit by raiders

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THIEVES attempted to steal more than a thousand pounds worth of goods from a department store.

Three shoplifters admitted thefts from Debenhams, in the Bridges, in separate cases at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Matthew Alan O’Dowd was one of a gang who stole jeans valued at £840 on February 2.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “He is not solely responsible, but is part and parcel of it.

“The four of them were in the shop. They left and came back a few minutes later, having changed clothes.

“They went straight to the jeans, where they had been earlier, and 12 pairs were taken.

“He was frank with the police and said at the time he was heavily addicted to heroin and any money he made as a result of his visit would be spent on heroin.”

Warren Ridley, defending, said the 22-year-old was not a habitual shoplifter and only had one similar offence on his record.

O’Dowd, of Ambleton Road, Coundon, County Durham, was given a 12-month community order and a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

Christopher Riley grabbed Dolce and Gabanna aftershave worth £72 on June 18, the court was told.

Mr Anderson said the 41-year-old, of Azelea Terrace North, Sunderland, later told police he intended to drink it.

Solicitor Anna Haq said Riley had been dependent on alcohol for 15 years, but was working with the North East Council for Addictions on a voluntary basis.

The case was adjourned for Probation Service reports.

Lesley Pod grabbed two bottles worth £72 and £45, and stuffed them down his trousers, magistrates heard

The 36-year-old, from Cairo Street, Hendon, claimed he had only eaten a pasty in two days before the theft, made in desperation, on June 27.

Tom Morgan, defending, said: “He has not received any benefits for between three-and-a-half and four weeks. He is trying to secure some gainful employment by his own volition.”

The court heard the former delivery firm worker was already subject to two court orders.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing for three months to see if Pod could comply with them.