Shoplifter ordered to repay a tenth of his ill-gotten gains

HMV has relocated from its former base in Tavern Street to the Upper Mall of Sailmakers Shopping Cen

HMV has relocated from its former base in Tavern Street to the Upper Mall of Sailmakers Shopping Centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A shoplifter will have to repay one tenth of the amount he cost Suffolk stores in lost takings during a spree of brazen thefts.

Zak Jones stole from six shops to fund a cocaine and heroin habit, which he was said have controlled by the time he was sentenced by magistrates in Ipswich on Monday.

The 29-year-old, who lives with his parents in Stowmarket following a period sleeping rough, assaulted staff who tried to stop him loading stolen goods into a car at the local Aldi in November.

The spate began on September 21, when he left Woodbridge Co-op with bottles of cognac, bourbon and rum worth £206.94. Five days later, he stole two Walking Dead box sets from HMV in Ipswich.

On October 6, he was one of three men who ran from Kesgrave Tesco with £312 worth of spirits.

Within the next six days, he stole £264.20 of groceries from Aldi, and with another male, stole £476 of items from Sainsbury’s, in Ipswich, including a Dyson vacuum, grabbed by a security guard as Jones escaped.

On November 28, he loaded a trolley of goods worth £140.95 at Stowmarket Tesco, where two staff followed him to a car. The vehicle, driven by another man, edged towards the pair, who Jones pushed out of its path.

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At the time, he was wanted for the theft of a £349.99 TV, and a vacuum and DVDs worth £157.96, from Co-op stores in April.

At an earlier hearing, Jones admitted the offences and was bailed until sentencing, after the court heard his partner had gone into labour with his second child. But sentencing magistrates heard his partner was still pregnant.

Solicitor Emily Hughes said he was due to come off benefits and start work driving an excavator.

“All the offences relate to a drug problem,” she added.

“Over the last couple of weeks, he has tried to make a change.

“He will be drug tested by his employer and has been clean for six days. For Mr Jones, that is a long period to be clean of drugs.”

Magistrates said the offences were worthy of an 18-week jail term, suspended for 15 months, with a requirement to attend 15 days of rehabilitation and carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

Jones has two outstanding fine accounts worth £1,128, but must also pay £50 compensation to each assaulted supermarket worker and £200 to the Co-op.

Magistrates said it would be unrealistic for him to repay the entire £2,426.82 – minus the value of the recovered vacuum cleaner.

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