80-year-old shoplifter spared prison

AN 80-year-old shoplifter caught with two knives is more than �250 worse off today, but has been spared prison.

AN 80-year-old shoplifter caught with two knives is more than �250 worse off today, but has been spared prison.

Leslie Nicholass used one of the illegal knives to steal printer cartridges from a supermarket because he could not afford to pay for them.

But despite facing a jail term after admitting theft and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon the grandfather was given just a fine.

Nicholass, of Priory Court, Nacton, said after the case at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court: “I've made a terrible mistake. I was under lots of financial pressure.

“I normally get cartridges from the internet - I buy a set (of four) for �10. I was desperate to sort out a project for work and I'd run out of cartridges.

“I'd sent off for new ones but they hadn't arrived and they (supermarkets) charge lots and I felt I couldn't afford them and I stupidly decided to take them without paying.

Most Read

“I've caused myself and family and people I know lots of embarrassment and I'm very sorry.”

Nicholass, who plans kitchens and bathrooms for a Colchester company and is due to celebrate his diamond wedding anniversary next year, was seen by security guards in Sainsbury's Warren Heath on April 5 cutting open cartridge packets with a silver knife.

Colette Griffiths, prosecuting, said: “He put the cartridges in his pocket before paying for some small items.

“He was detained in the car park and found with eight cartridges worth �78.23. He produced a small silver knife and another that was blue.”

Ian Duckworth, mitigating, said: “You wouldn't normally have the juxtaposition of someone of 80 with a couple of knives.

“He had no idea he was committing an offence with regard to having the knives.

“He was a bit like a rabbit in the headlights when it was explained how serious it was.”

However magistrates told Nicholass he would just be ordered to pay a fine of �50 for each knife, �78.23 to Sainsbury's in compensation, a �15 victim surcharge and costs of �60 - �253.23 in total.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter