Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Jail sentence imposed on serial shoplifter from Darlington extended after his appeal bid backfires
A SERIAL shoplifter’s bid to reduce the time he spends behind bars backfired when an extra six weeks was added to his sentence.
Magistrates last month imposed four prison sentences, all of four weeks, each suspended for 12 months, on Christopher Henderson, after he admitted four counts of shop theft.
But six days after the court appearance, Henderson attempted to steal £5 from a changing room locker at the Dolphin Centre, Darlington.
He handed the money back, however, laughing, when he realised the owner had seen what he was doing.
Security staff were alerted and Henderson was later picked out following examination of centre cctv footage, and arrested.
He went back before the South Durham bench for the attempted theft and was also re-sentenced for the four previous counts of theft, on March 20.
The magistrates amended the sentence and jailed Henderson for a total of 22 weeks.
But the 26-year-old, of West Moor Road, Darlington, appealed against the length of sentence to Durham Crown Court on the grounds it was “excessive”.
Judge Peter Kelson warned him, via barrister Lorraine Mustard, that he was at risk of having his sentence extended if he pursued the appeal.
After a brief discussion with her client, Miss Mustard told Judge Kelson that Henderson was “aware of the court’s powers”, but wanted to proceed with the appeal.
She said he was in a “desperate” financial position, living at his partner’s house, and went to the centre for a shower as her gas meter was short of funds and there was no central heating.
He had membership of the centre through the North-East Council on Addictions, which was attempting to help him overcome a heroin addiction.
She added that the attempt to steal the £5 was “opportunistic” and was quickly abandoned.
But Judge Kelson, sitting with two magistrates, said Henderson has had the benefit of all the non-custodial sentencing options the court could offer and yet still continued to offend.
They, therefore, agreed to add six weeks to extend the sentence to one of 28 weeks.