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Absent minded pub goer 'forgot' he was carrying knuckle duster in pocket

PUBLISHED: 14:40 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 22 January 2020

Ben Forbes was jailed for a total of 20 weeks last November following a string of shop thefts  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Ben Forbes was jailed for a total of 20 weeks last November following a string of shop thefts Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Suffolk Constabulary

A jailed shoplifter's stay in prison has been extended after he emerged from his cell to admit taking a knuckle duster to an Ipswich pub.

Forbes said he forgot about the knuckle duster until going to pay for a drink at the Golden Hind pub  Picture: ARCHANTForbes said he forgot about the knuckle duster until going to pay for a drink at the Golden Hind pub Picture: ARCHANT

Ben Forbes was expecting to be released from a 20-week term of imprisonment for shop theft and unpaid court fines this Friday.

Three days before he was due to walk away from Norwich prison, the 27-year-old reappeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on video link to admit possessing an offensive weapon in a public place the night before he launched a shoplifting spree around his neighbourhood last November.

The 27-year-old, of Maryon Road, Ipswich, was jailed on November 18 after stealing £650 of produce from convenience stores over a 12-day spell.

Forbes was eventually chased down by a Co-op employee in Nacton Road on November 15 after clocking up 11 thefts and assaulting a member of staff who stood in his way at the One Stop store in Reynolds Road.

On the evening of November 2, the day before stealing wine from a branch of the Co-op, Forbes was reported to police for having a knuckle duster in the Golden Hind pub.

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Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said officers later found him walking along Clapgate Lane with the weapon in his pocket.

Mr Ablett said: "He told police he was at a friend's, playing around with the knuckle duster, which he put in his pocket and simply forgot about until taking it out at the pub."

None of the father-of-three's 22 previous convictions for 45 offences included possession of an offensive weapon or a bladed article, the court head.

Forbes, whose earliest date of release was this Friday, told magistrates: "I was messing about with my mates. I put it in my pocket and didn't think about it until I went to pay for a drink and it came out of my pocket.

"I didn't intend to use it for anything and I didn't kick up a fuss when police arrested me."

After asking the court why the matter had not been taken into consideration at the time of his sentencing for matters in November, Forbes was reminded he was charged with the offence on November 3 and released on bail until January 14, and should have spoken up to inform the court during his previous appearance.

He was sentenced to another two weeks' custody to run consecutive to his current term.

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