Barrister questions security levels at John Lewis store on Ipswich’s Futura Park

John Lewis, Ipswich

John Lewis, Ipswich

A drug-addicted shoplifter was able to walk out of Ipswich’s John Lewis five times in six weeks with high-value items before being caught, a court heard.

Dean Saunders, of Tayberry Place, Ipswich, stole televisions, expensive coffee machines and speakers until finally being arrested on Christmas Eve after changing into shorts in the hope of deceiving police officers looking for him.

His barrister Steven Dyble, told Ipswich Crown Court: “Literally he’s walked in and walked out. It may say something about the lack of security at John Lewis’.”

Saunders had been due to be sentenced after previously pleading guilty for five counts of shoplifting.

However, Judge John Devaux adjourned the case in order for a drug rehabilitation requirement to be considered.

Prosecutor Gerard Renouf said all the offences occurred at the same store in Futura Park, Ipswich.

Another man was also involved in two of them.

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At just after 2pm on November 16 Saunders went to the shop’s audio section and walked out with a boom speaker worth £210.

The 28-year-old did the same thing again at around 1pm on November 18 when he put another £210 speaker under his hoodie before leaving.

On December 2 Saunders and another man carried a large Sage coffee machine priced at £1,595 out of the store.

Saunders returned on December 14 just before 8pm. He picked up a Delonghi coffee machine worth £549.95, and a blender priced at £99.95, before walking out.

When a worker chased after Saunders he put the items down and said: “I will stab you bruv. I will stab you.”

Saunders went back again at 11.30am on Christmas Eve with another man and stole two televisions.

A member of staff went after them, but was threatened. The men ran off with one carrying the televisions both valued at £369.

Police responded to an urgent call for help and saw Saunders, who had gone into a shop to change his clothes, come out wearing shorts.

The court was told Saunders had a large number of previous convictions including 48 for theft and similar offences.

A spokesman for John Lewis said: “Understandably, we cannot go into detail on the security measures that we have in place our shops. However, in this instance we were the victim of a criminal offence and our Partners did confront the shoplifter on more than one occassion.”

Saunders is now scheduled to be sentenced on February 17.

He is currently remanded in custody.