A Northampton man has been imprisoned for a string of shoplifting offences and emptying the contents of a woman’s purse after she caught him attempting to burgle her house.
Thomas Jones, aged 25, of Market Street, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 17 after being charged with two counts of burglary and three counts of shoplifting.
The court heard that Jones - a prolific shoplifter with at least nine previous convictions of theft - stole a black mountain bike from a driveway in Rushden in April 2021.
Ben Gow, prosecuting, told the court that, on May 11 last year, Jones was given a 11-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months for previous shoplifting offences. The order required him not to commit any further offences or the suspended prison sentence would be activated.
Jones went on to steal shower gel from a chemist in Rushden on May 26 2021 and then male grooming products valued up to £30 from a supermarket, the court heard.
Mr Gow described how, at around 10pm on June 18 2021, a woman was watching TV in her Rushden home when she heard noises coming from the kitchen. She went to investigate and found Jones leaning through the kitchen window, holding her washing up liquid, kitchen roll and egg holder.
Jones told the homeowner he was trying to protect her against people trying to get into her house and he did the same for his nan, the court heard. Jones returned the items then joined the woman for a cigarette outside before stepping back into the house to retrieve his coat and helping himself to £105 in cash from the woman’s purse.
Mr Green, in mitigation, said the court should consider Jones’ “long gap” in not offending.
The defence barrister told the court that Jones slipped into alcoholism following his parents’ divorce and has taken steps to address his problems. He added that Jones’ father has offered to reimburse the victim with £500.
Before Mr Recorder Edis QC sentenced Jones, the defendant stood up in the dock and proclaimed: “I am so sorry. I am begging you, your honour, on my soul. I know what I have done but I have done so well. Please, your honour, I am begging you.”
Mr Edis, addressing Jones, said: “You are 25 and, until your early twenties, you had a clean record and then family loss drove you to alcohol and into alcoholism. You then unleashed a catalogue of offences against the public.”
Jones attempted to interrupt the Recorder with further apologies but Mr Edis scolded him sharply, telling the defendant not to interrupt him again or he will continue to sentence him in his absence.
Mr Edis pulled up a transcription from a hearing in May 2021 when the defendant was recorded saying he understood that, if he were to commit any offences, this would trigger the suspended sentence.
Jones was given a 12-month prison sentence for burglary and a further six months imprisonment to be served consecutively for breaching his suspended prison sentence order. Jones was additionally sentenced to one week in prison for shoplifting to be served concurrently.