A judge has told a thief he has been given a "last throw of the dice" after being sentenced for escaping police custody and 13 counts of theft.

Jake Eastop, 27 and of no fixed abode, appeared for sentencing at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

He was arrested for shoplifting in August last year, and was taken to Ipswich Hospital by police officers with symptoms of drug withdrawal, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Eastop managed to flee the building after asking to use the toilet, but was apprehended a short time later. He then became agitated, and assaulted an emergency worker by spitting at them.

In July, Eastop admitted the charges of escaping lawful custody and assaulting an emergency worker.

At the time Recorder Richard Conley deferred sentencing Eastop, telling him that if he found employment and engaged with the drug and alcohol support service Turning Point, he would get a more lenient sentence.

However, the court heard that between July 16 and August 4, Eastop had been charged with 13 counts of theft from various shops, mostly bottles of alcohol and tubs of baby formula.

The court heard that Eastop had also pleaded guilty to these charges.

Mr Conley said that deferring Eastop’s sentence had been an “unmitigated disaster”.

He said that the “root cause” of Eastop’s offences was his lack of accommodation. Having been released, he said that Eastop became homeless once again and became reliant on theft to support himself and his drug addiction.

The court heard that Eastop has now found a place to stay with a friend in Saxmundham, and intended to “stay out of Ipswich”, besides his mandatory appointments in the town.

Mr Conley sentenced Eastop to a community order of 18 months for all of the charges, during which time he will be required to undergo a drug rehabilitation program and rehabilitation activity requirement of 30 days.

He said that this was Eastop’s “last throw of the dice”, and that he would be “crossing my fingers for you”.