72-year-old gambler steals clothes

GAMBLING debts drove an elderly man and his friend to steal nearly £400 of clothes from an Ipswich store.Jacob Wilson, 72 and Peter Young 58 were spotted shoving ten tops into a bag in Marks & Spencer in December, South East Suffolk magistrates heard.

GAMBLING debts drove an elderly man and his friend to steal nearly £400 of clothes from an Ipswich store.

Jacob Wilson, 72 and Peter Young 58 were spotted shoving ten tops into a bag in Marks & Spencer in December, South East Suffolk magistrates heard.

The pair were visiting a friend in Ipswich from their homes in London on December 15 when they orchestrated the scheme.

Prosecutor Patricia Doggett told the bench yesterday: "Mr Wilson took ten black tops from a display and put them in a carrier bag which Mr Young held open."

During the case it was revealed that Wilson, from Hackney, is a prolific shoplifter and has offences dating back as far as 1954.

His last offence for shoplifting was five years ago.

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The pair were stopped outside the Tavern Street shop after being spotted by a store detective and their actions were also caught on CCTV.

In court they both pleaded guilty to the charge of theft from a shop.

John Hughes, defending Wilson, told the court: "He has not gambled for the past five or six years but not long ago he started gambling again.

"He got himself into debt from a licensed money lender and got into difficulties.

He carried out the theft in the hope of selling the jumpers and paying off the debts."

David Pickersgill defending Young said: "Mr Young was visiting a friend in the Ipswich area.

"He went into Marks & Spencer with Mr Wilson and the offence just came about."

But chairman of the bench Maureen Bateman said the magistrates considered the offence to be quite deliberate.

Wilson was sentenced to an 80-hour community punishment order and made to pay £55 costs while Young was sentenced to a community rehabilitation order and also made to pay £55 costs.

On sentencing the pair, Mrs Bateman said: "You are both prolific thieves and have been most of your lives.

"It is only now that age and infirmity are catching up with you and you are declining."

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