MAGISTRATES have given a 31-year-old Scarborough shoplifter one last chance by imposing a community sentence as an alternative to imprisonment.
David White, of Queens Terrace, had previously admitted stealing two bottles of aftershave – worth a total of £70.46 – from Debenhams last month.
Dawn Birkett, prosecuting, said it was a simple case of shoplifting. She added: “He took two bottles of fragrance and left with no intention to make a payment. Two bottles of aftershave were recovered and he fully admitted it.
“He said he committed the theft because he needed money for electricity and food.”
Franklyn Garvey, mitigating, said that while White appeared before Scarborough magistrates with a “far from impressive record” his client had remained trouble-free for five years out of the previous decade.
He said: “He’s pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. This would have been at a particularly cold spell so far as the weather conditions were concerned.
“He’d stocked up with food –most of it was of the frozen variety – and the following morning there was no electricity and he found his supply of food was totally wasted.”
Mr Garvey said that White had tried to get money from friends and family but was unsuccessful.
He said: “He was desperate for food and that was the motive behind his crime.”
The court heard that White had been involved with both hard and soft drugs since his teens but he was trying to overcome his problems.
Mr Garvey said: “On this particular occasion there was no motive to feed that habit.”
He added that his client wanted to find suitable employment but his criminal record had previously made it difficult.
“But people are building up confidence in this man in that regard. Through thick and thin he’s managed to survive. There’s a slight ray of light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
“Prison is a place where drugs culture is prevalent and it’d be easy for him to get drugs – that would be the trigger for it to start again. He’s just getting out of the abyss. It’s a slim chance I know but there are credits in the Probation Service report.”
White was given a 12-month supervision order, which included 150 hours of unpaid work, and ordered to pay £85 in court costs.