Shoplifter told ‘you stole it, you pay for it’ after coming clean to thefts

PUBLISHED: 14:44 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 February 2020

Richard McCleary has been jailed for eight weeks after admitting a string of shop thefts across Ipswich  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Richard McCleary has been jailed for eight weeks after admitting a string of shop thefts across Ipswich Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Suffolk Constabulary

A prolific shoplifter is today back behind bars after owning up to a string of thefts from stores across Ipswich over a two-year period.

Richard McCleary confessed to more than a dozen thefts of items worth more than £1,300 between January 2017 and November 2019.

The 31-year-old, of no fixed address, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in custody from Norwich prison on Tuesday after being recalled until March 11 for breaching conditions of his release from a 16-week sentence.

He was visited in prison by the constabulary's Operation Converter team and agreed to be driven round Ipswich, admitting unsolved thefts from the Co-op, Sainsbury's, B&M, Maplin and Asda - to be taken into account when sentenced for a theft from B&M, in Carr Street, last July.

Prosecutor David Bryant said McCleary entered the store with a female and headed for the alcohol aisle, where he put seven bottles of wine into a carrier bag and slid two into the woman's handbag, before both left without paying.

"You stole it, you pay for it"

Chairman of the bench, Michael Sweeting

McCleary ignored security alarms and remained free until being identified on CCTV footage.

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He admitted the theft in interview, but told police he acted alone, and had stolen the wine to sell for drug money.

McCleary was jailed for 16 weeks on November 21 and released on January 15, but was recalled following an argument with the probation service, which said he had thrown his bike at an officer after making a begrudging apology for bumping into them - although McCleary claimed he threw the bike into a lift and not directly at the officer.

In 2008, he was jailed for robbery and GBH, but found employment upon his release and stayed out of trouble for six years until being made redundant, according to solicitor Mark Holt.

In mitigating, Mr Holt said: "His co-operation with police has been entirely voluntary.

"He was presented with other matters and made full admissions. He tried his best to clean the slate.

"He believed accommodation would be provided, or that he would be on a waiting list, but found himself with neither, because promises given in prison were not passed to probation.

"His background is one of initially drinking to excess. When made redundant, he fell into class A drug use."

McCleary was handed an eight-week jail sentence, concurrent to his recall period, and ordered to pay compensation.

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