Jail threat for man banned from Co-op

A NUISANCE thief faces being jailed if he enters another Co-op store in Ipswich after he admitted breaching an order banning him from the chain of shops.

A NUISANCE thief faces being jailed if he enters another Co-op store in Ipswich after he admitted breaching an order banning him from the chain of shops.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard that despite an Asbo forbidding him to enter Co-ops in the town, Gary Sutton, of London Road, Ipswich, stole twice from the chain this year.

Stephen Colman, prosecuting, said 38-year-old Sutton took washing powder worth £5.18 on January 18 as well as jars of coffee worth £11.16 on February 28.

“A witness working at the Co-op said he saw the defendant leave the shop trying to conceal something under his coat,” Mr Colman said.

“He looked at the CCTV and saw it was washing powder to the value of £5.18.”

He added that police identified Sutton from CCTV images.

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Then on February 28 Sutton was spotted by Co-op staff bending down near coffee before placing “three or four jars” in his jacket.

“He admitted taking coffee and wanted to swap them for pills and that he was desperate,” Mr Colman said.

He said that in committing the offences Sutton breached the Asbo banning him from Co-op stores in Ipswich until October next year.

Ian Duckworth, mitigating, said his client was schizophrenic.

“He has been hearing voices and it 'does his head in',” he said.

“He says he is off drugs and the evidence for this is that he has put on about four stone in weight.

“He is as well as I have seen him looking for years.

“I've told him that, while he is on this ASBO, if he steals from Co-op stores he could end up in crown court with a maximum sentence of five years,” he added.

Wally Welch, chairman of the magistrates, told Sutton that a custodial sentence was strongly considered.

“That will be the likely sentence if you breach this Asbo again.”

For the two offences of theft Sutton was deemed to have served his sentence after spending a night in custody.

He was handed a month-long curfew between 8pm and 8am for breaching his Asbo and was ordered to pay a total of £16.34 compensation to Co-op.

No order was made for costs.

Are serial offenders dealt with suitably? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Gary Sutton is not the only person in Ipswich to be banned from Co-op stores in the town.

Lee McLaughlin, 27, of Wicklow Road, White House, was banned from the store for five years last October after striking 25 times at branches across Ipswich between August 2 and September 1, 2007.

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