A SERIAL shop thief has been locked up after he breached a suspended jail term just weeks after it was imposed – by snatching a £4 bottle of wine.
Geoffrey Cowie, of Tatham Street, Sunderland, was caught stealing the booze from Asda in South Shields.
The 57-year-old was detained by staff and told them: “Yes, I would’ve drank the wine, I know I shouldn’t have done it.”
Cowie admitted a charge of shop theft when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “There is nothing particularly unusual about the offence, but is an offence that is occurring on all-too-frequent basis with this defendant.
“He has gone into Asda on Saturday, September 20, and taken a bottle of wine.
“He activated the security alarm as he tried to leave the store and was asked by staff if he had anything on him he shouldn’t have.
“He produced the bottle of wine and said ‘yes, I would’ve drank the wine, I know I shouldn’t have done it’.
“He is now in a precarious situation, as he is subject to a suspended sentence from August 20 for four offences of shop theft.
“Unfortunately, he is back before the court for a similar offence.”
Dan Pygall, defending, said: “While I accept he is in breach of a suspended sentence, I would ask you to withdraw from that.
“He is not a stranger to custody. He has numerous convictions.
“Going in and out of prison will not help him or society as a whole.
“He goes into prison, his benefits get stopped and he comes out and offends.
“He has problems with alcohol.
“He is making progress and is working with the Changing Lives charity.”
But Marian Craig, chairman of the magistrates, said his record was “not very good” and activated Cowie’s eight-week prison sentence.
He was given another four-week jail term for the theft from Asda, but the sentence will run concurrently.