Shoplifting pair sent to prison for breaching suspended sentences

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: ARCAHNT LIBRARY

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court (stock image). Picture: ARCAHNT LIBRARY - Credit: Gregg Brown

A pair of shoplifters have blown their chance at getting clean and staying out of jail.

Esther Snell and Daniel Saunders appeared before magistrates for stealing to fund drug habits while subject to suspended prison sentences.

Snell had been given a reprieve at the beginning of February, when she and her sister, Rachael, admitted a string of thefts from 10 Ipswich shops, for which her younger sibling received 14 weeks in jail, having breached her own suspended sentence.

Saunders, whose crack addiction led to 33 previous theft convictions, was given his last chance in September but appeared in custody before magistrates on Thursday, admitting five more from shops across Ipswich.

The 31-year-old, of Old Foundry Road, who also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, was seen reaching over the counter at the Lewis Hair salon, in Dogs Head Street, and stealing three pairs of GHD hair straighteners, each worth £99, on January 6.

On January 29, he walked out of the Futura Park Waitrose with £69.49 of vodka, then left Foxhall Road Tesco with a basket full of food worth £59.14 on February 7.

When spotted in Bixley Road by two PCSOs, he dropped the basket and fled west across railway tracks, avoiding a passing freight train, before going straight to the Queen’s Way Co-Op and stealing £86.64 worth of instant coffee.

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He returned to the Futura Park Waitrose and was caught stealing £115 of food on Wednesday.

Magistrates activated 18 weeks of his suspended 24-week sentence and imposed another 20 weeks, also fining him a total £703.13, including compensation for unrecovered stolen items and court costs.

Meanwhile, 41-year-old Snell admitted stealing almost £400 of alcohol from Tesco on February 14 and Waitrose on February 20.

She asked the court to take another four thefts into consideration, in order to avoid a separate prosecution, adding to her 163 previous theft offences.

Snell was given 22 weeks’ prison and fined £739.24.

Duty solicitor Mark Holt represented both defendants, who he said each had drug problems, funded through acquisitive crime.

He said Snell’s offending had reduced after relocating from Ipswich to Peckham, but that her father’s recent poor health had compelled her to return and “put her in contact with people she used to associate with”.

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