Thieves make off with haul of air fresheners from Sunderland Wilkinson store

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TWO thieves thought they had smelled success when they stole a haul of six air fresheners.

Philip McAbe and Daniel Bates helped themselves to £30 of room fragrances from Wilkinson in Sunderland, then sold them in the street.

But the hapless pair were caught after they returned to the store just hours later, on November 2.

They were arrested after staff recognised them from CCTV footage.

McAbe and Bates, both of High Street East, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to theft at the city’s magistrates’ court.

Janice Bellamy, prosecuting, said: “A member of the public approached a member of security staff and said she had seen two men put a number of items in a carrier bag and leave without paying.

“They went back into the store at 5.30pm and were arrested.

“McAbe said it was a spontaneous act and he wanted them for his bedroom.

“They sold them to a female in Fawcett Street. Bates said his friend opened the bag and he put them in.

“They used the money to buy other items.

“Both were tested on arrest and tested positive for cocaine.” McAbe also admitted a second offence of stealing a perfume set from Boots in The Bridges shopping centre.

Mrs Bellamy said the theft took place at about 3.20pm on October 29, when McAbe and another man put scent in a bag and left without paying.

Susan Grey, defending McAbe, 45, said he was trying to get clean from drugs.

She said: “He is now living at the Salvation Army and he finds the structure there is good for him.

“He is now on a methadone prescription and is hoping he can put drug abuse behind him.”

Neil Hodgson, mitigating for Bates, said the 31-year-old father-of-two moved into a hostel after being thrown out by his girlfriend.

He added: “The theft was of six air fresheners, which were sold to get some money for food and whatever else.

“He is now in the process of reconciling with his long-term partner.”

McAbe was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £15 compensation.

Sentencing for Bates was adjourned for Probation Service reports.