Serial shoplifter escaped arrest and carried out spree of thefts across county, Northampton court hears

Wesley Downing has over previous 100 convictions for theft.
Wesley Downing has over previous 100 convictions for theft.

A man escaped arrest by throwing clothes in a police officer's face before running away, a Northampton court heard.

Wesley Downing, 38, of no known address, yesterday (July 21) pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court to escaping custody as well as well as six counts of theft and one count of attempted theft.

The court heard how Downing, who is already serving a sentence in prison and has over 100 convictions for theft, slipped through the police's fingers and went on to target more Northampton supermarkets.

Overseeing the case, Recorder Warburton said: "You have an absolutely appalling record for shoplifting and you are showing no signs of stopping.

"If you continue committing these offences on immediate release from custody then you will be sentenced to longer and longer periods."

The court heard how when police arrived to arrest Downing from his father's house in Northampton, on May 13, he was initially compliant and asked for the officers to wait downstairs while he gathered some clothes.

Prosecuting barrister Jonathan Dee said: "When [Downing] came downstairs, he threw clothes in the officer's face, ran out the door and escaped.

"He then went on to a further spree of shoplifting."

Between May 5 and June 12, Downing looted seven different supermarkets and shops across Northamptonshire.

On one occasion, he stole nearly £1,000 worth of women's clothing from the Next store in Sixfields. Another time, he swiped £120 worth of chocolate from a Co-Op in Towcester.

In sentencing, Recorder Warburton said: "You have offered no explanation for why behave in this way. You have shown a disregard for court orders and community orders. Only a custodial sentence can be justified."

Downing was sentenced to 20 months for his offences, which will be added to the term he is currently serving in prison.