Sunderland dad stole TVs, toys and lager after losing his job before Christmas

Sainsbury's, The Galleries, Washington.
Sainsbury's, The Galleries, Washington.

A dad stole £1,600 worth of toys and electronics from a Washington supermarket after he lost his job shortly before Christmas.

Eric Drinkald did not want to ‘let his kids down’ by being unable to buy them presents, magistrates heard.

He’s got two kids and he didn’t know what he was going to do – he didn’t want to let them down at Christmas

Daniel Pygall, defending

The 34-year-old, who stole from Sainsbury’s at The Galleries in Washington on three separate occasions was also found in possession of amphetamine.

Prosecutor Laura Croft said: “The evidence comes from a security guard, who became aware of a shoplifting on November 19.

“The defendant was seen in CCTV selecting several items before leaving the store.

“These included advent calendars, toys, a television, microwave and a couple of craft sets.”

The items were valued at £551, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

On November 24, Drinkald was back, helping himself to two TVs valued at £850.

Then on December 5, Drinkald was caught after he returned to the store, stealing toys and two crates of lager.

He was arrested and the goods were recovered. When police searched him, they also found three small zip lock bags of amphetamine.

Drinkald, of Pemberton Close, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and possession of amphetamine.

He had 50 previous convictions, including 12 thefts. He is also subject to a suspended prison sentence.

Daniel Pygall, defending, said: “He has always worked since the age of 18.

“Unfortunately, in November, he found himself being made unemployed.

“It wasn’t the greatest timing for him or anyone.

“He got himself into a downward spiral.

“He hasn’t handled this in the best way, he’s been using amphetamine to lift his mood.

“He’s gone into the store in the build-up to Christmas, he’s had no money.

“At the time he didn’t get any benefits, they wouldn’t have kicked in until the end of December.

“He’s got two kids and he didn’t know what he was going to do.

“He didn’t want to let them down at Christmas.

“This is the only way he felt he could deal with it at the time.

“There were a number of toys taken. They were towards his children’s Christmas.

“It’s not ideal, but that’s what he did.”

Mr Pygall added that Drinkald had a job interview after the end of the case, which he was hopeful of getting.

Drinkald was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 40-hours unpaid work.

He was told to pay £1,401 in compensation and £85 costs.

The bench reported the breach of a suspended sentence to Newcastle Crown Court for possible action.