Thief stole lighting and gardening tools from Sunderland Wickes store in 'rash moment of madness'

A cash-strapped demolition man’s bid to steal from a DIY store came crashing down on him when he set off an alarm during his escape.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 3:52 pm
Paul Middleton, 42, swiped lighting and gardening tools from Wickes’ store in Wessington Way, Sunderland, on Sunday, April 11, South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard.
Paul Middleton, 42, swiped lighting and gardening tools from Wickes’ store in Wessington Way, Sunderland, on Sunday, April 11, South Tyneside Magistrates' Court heard.

Paul Middleton, 42, swiped lighting and gardening tools from Wickes’ store in Wessington Way, Sunderland, on Sunday, April 11.

Middleton, of Rutherglen Road, Red House, made his getaway through an emergency exit but triggered the alarm.

He was collared by security staff in the outlet’s car park before he could make off with his £193 haul, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

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The family man, who defended himself in court, admitted his theft bid had been a “moment of madness”.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck told the hearing: “At 1pm, a witness states that Mr Middleton entered the store.

“He reached the shelves and collected various items, put them in a bag and left the store via an alarmed exit, avoiding payment.

“This alerted staff, and as he walked across the car park, he was detained by security.

“The goods still had their security tags on. The police arrived and he was arrested.

“He was taken to Southwick police station, where he was interviewed about the theft.

“He said that he had stolen the items because he was skint.”

Mrs Beck told the hearing Middleton had 16 previous convictions from 51 offences, 21 of which were theft or related matters and was last before the courts in 2018.

She added: “There is no application for compensation. All the goods were recovered.”

Middleton, who pleaded guilty to theft, said: “It was stupid. It was a moment of madness. I have a full-time job. I’ve apologised to my family.”

Dr Alistair Robson, chair of the magistrates’ bench, agreed, adding: “You know what you did was wrong.

“We could throw the book at you, but you’ve come in today and have pleaded guilty and haven’t wasted court time.

“This rash act of madness will set you back £419.”

Middleton was fined £300 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

The court was told he also owes £290 from previous fines and costs which he has not been paying.

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