A PROLIFIC offender has avoided jail despite being caught stealing in Scarborough days after he was handed a community order.
Stephen Smith, 46, was given a community order on Wednesday last week, but three days later tried to steal two watches worth £54.50 from Marks and Spencer in Scarborough by hiding them in a hat.
Yesterday, magistrates gave Smith yet another community order, but told him he would not have to carry out any additional hours of unpaid work after the court heard that he had already been sentenced to the maximum amount in a one-year period.
Instead, 40 hours of unpaid work will run concurrently to 118 hours which are already outstanding.
Steve Ovenden, prosecuting, said that the defendant had made 70 previous court appearances.
Smith, who gave a care of address of Leading Post Street, Scarborough, was detained at Marks and Spencer on Saturday and the watches were returned to the store. He pleaded guilty to theft.
His solicitor, Richard North, said that his client had been in a “desperate situation” in terms of his financial situation and living arrangements.
He added: “He realises he is in a serious situation to say the least.”