Ipswich: Shoplifter is jailed for theft of �3.49 cardigan

IPSWICH: A shoplifter with more than 280 offences to his name has been jailed after stealing a �3.49 cardigan from an Ipswich charity shop.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard Karl Sheringham’s excuse for stealing the grey woollen garment only a month after coming out of prison was that “old habits die hard”.

Prosecutor Collett Griffiths told the court the 37-year-old went into an AGE UK shop on January 28, took his jacket off and put on the jumper.

After slipping his jacket back on he walked out of the Upper Brook Street store without paying.

The court heard Sheringham, of Foundation Street, Ipswich, had 52 previous convictions for 281 offences, 177 of which were for theft.

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Mrs Griffiths said he had been sentenced to 17 months imprisonment for robbery when he appeared at Stonehaven Sheriff Court in Aberdeen last April.

In mitigation for Sheringham, who admitted shoplifting, Jeremy Kendall said: “He had no need to take the cardigan. He wanted it and he took it. What he says is ‘old habits die hard’.

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“It was an instinctive reaction borne out of years of dishonesty borne out of years of drug addiction.”

Despite Mr Kendall’s plea for Sheringham to be spared prison, District Judge David Cooper jailed him for 90 days.

Judge Cooper said: “It’s a brave plea of mitigation – a conditional discharge for a man who has got 281 offences on his record, nearly all for offences of dishonesty mingled with disobedience to court orders.

The judge then told Sheringham: “You have an atrocious record. I can’t see any reason why you would ever be on the path to reform.”

He added that whatever kind of sentences were given to Sheringham in the past nothing has worked.

Judge Cooper concluded: “You are now stealing from charity shops, which I think is an aggravating feature. I am really driven to the conclusion that the only thing that is going to work for the public is to keep you out of the way for some time.”

The court heard Sheringham was likely to be released from his sentence in 45 days.

n What do you think of sentences for shoplifters? E-mail eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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