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Wisbech man escapes jail for store thefts

Court News
Court News

A man claimed he stole phone accessories and batteries from a Wisbech shop last week after being told to by someone he owed money to, a court heard.

James Spaans, 26, of Napier Court, Wisbech, has been sentenced to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, on each of three counts of theft.

He was given a further 10 week suspended sentence for a separate charge of breaching a community order.

All of the sentences were imposed to run concurrently.

Spaans appeared before magistrates in King’s Lynn for sentencing this morning, having admitted the latest offences at a hearing in Peterborough on Saturday.

Fergus Harold, prosecuting, said staff working in the QD Stores branch in Wisbech on Thursday had noticed empty containers in the section for mobile phone accessories.

A review of CCTV showed Spaans removing items from the display and hiding them in his clothes before leaving without paying for them.

He was caught when he returned to the premises later that day, when staff and a PCSO found he was carrying a large number of batteries, which he had also taken from the store.

Mr Harold told the bench that, when interviewed by police, Spaans claimed he had been going to hand himself in to officers prior to the incident.

However, he said he then met an unnamed man he was in debt to, who told him to go and steal items in order to repay the debt.

He added that the man then told him to return to the shop when those items didn’t yield enough money.

The court was told that two warrants had previously been issued for Spaans’ arrest, after he failed to attend a sentencing hearing on an earlier offence of theft, committed at the Farmfoods store in King’s Lynn last May, and on a breach of a community order, which he also admitted.

George Sorrell, mitigating, said his client had lived a life of “turmoil and chaos” for some years, which was largely related to drug use.

He told the court there had also been difficulties relating to his former partner and their child, which led to the latest offences and his failures to attend previous hearings.

However, he added that Spaans’ probation manager had reported he “engaged well” with the programme and insisted he was determined to address his issues.

Spaans was also ordered to pay £48.81 compensation and £50 costs.

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