Prolific shoplifter from Northampton jailed following spree of thefts while on a community order

Northampton Crown Court GV ENGNNL00120131101153043
Northampton Crown Court GV ENGNNL00120131101153043

A serial shoplifter has been handed an eight-month prison sentence after he ‘blew’ his chance to avoid jail by taking a drug rehabilitation course and staying away from crime.

Unemployed Jonathan Beal, of, Byfield Road, St James, walked away with a community order when he was sentenced for theft, criminal damage, possession of an article for the use of fraud and common assault earlier in the year. During January he had stolen £60 worth of DVDs from the Grosvenor Centre HMV and batteries from an Asda superstore before taking a jacket worth £45 from the Republic clothing store, also in the Grosvenor Centre.

When a security guard confronted him during the latter offence, he threatened the guard with a shard from a smashed mug – injuring him in the ensuing scuffle.

He was spared jail for those offences and asked to carry out unpaid work in the community as well as attending a drug rehabilitation clinic.

But the self-confessed drug and alcohol addict regularly missed appointments on the six-month course.

Beal was called back to Northampton Crown Court yesterday on a charge of breaching that order as well as five other charges of theft, which took place in Norwich and Northampton in August and September.

Sentencing Beal, recorder Ian Dove said: “You were given a chance in relation to the offences in January this year, and as you rightly recognise, you blew it.

“The court’s patience with you is at its end.”

The court heard how 43-year-old Beal’s extensive criminal record stood at 31 convictions for 83 offences, the vast majority of which related to theft.

The offences in August and September included stealing goods worth £40 from Anne Summers in Northampton, as well as a spree of thefts in Norwich on August 6, where he took PlayStation 3 controllers, razor blades and clothing from various shops.

In mitigation, Caroline Bray, said Beal had suffered childhood trauma and was stealing to fund his drug and alcohol addiction.

She said: “He wants to address these issues because he doesn’t want in and out of prison, or on community orders - he knows that is not a life.”

But recorder Dove advised Beal: “I hope that when this sentence is over, you will go and ask for the help that you need.

“The only person that is going to find that help is you.”