Prolific shoplifter given chance to mend ways or face return to prison

PUBLISHED: 12:23 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:23 07 August 2020

Craig Horsnell appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court via video link from Martlesham Heath police invstigation centre  Picture: ARCHANT

Craig Horsnell appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court via video link from Martlesham Heath police invstigation centre Picture: ARCHANT

A prolific shoplifter will have the threat of jail looming over him as he attempts to finally kick a heroin addiction which fuelled his years of offending.

Craig Horsnell’s criminal history was described as all too “familiar and rather depressing” at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

He was arrested for stealing food and drink worth £75 from Iceland in Ipswich the previous day, while under post-sentence supervision following release from prison, and on bail for a number of other shop thefts.

The 31-year-old appeared in custody on Thursday to admit six counts of shop theft and one count of handling stolen goods.

Prosecutor Lesla Small said he walked into the Co-op in Bramford Lane at 9pm on June 23, selected 10 packs of chicken breasts and left without paying, but handed over one pack when challenged by store staff on his way out.

Four days later, he was found with a holdall full of meat stolen from another Co-op.

Ms Small said Horsnell took hold of the items after exiting the store with another man who removed £25.50 of meat from the shelves and left without paying.

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On July 25, he stole six gammon steaks worth £30 from the Co-op, in Foxhall Road, before stealing £110 of meat and energy drinks from the Fircroft Road Co-op, and £45 of chocolate from the Garrick Way Co-op four days later.

The court heard he was living in a guest house in Norwich Road and was prescribed methadone as a substitute for heroin since leaving jail earlier this year.

David Allan, mitigating, said his record of about 100 offences told a “familiar and rather depressing” story.

He said Horsnell had been topping up methadone with heroin but had been trying to arrange a higher dose to more effectively manage his addiction.

He told magistrates: “You’re well within your powers to return him to prison.

“Doubtless, he’ll be released in so many months time, having lost his accommodation, and the cycle goes again.

“One could say he doesn’t deserve a chance, but if he’s as motivated to change as he says, I would urge you to give him one.”

Horsnell was handed a 22-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 days of rehabilitation activity. He was also ordered to pay £225.50 in compensation to the shops where stolen items were not recovered.

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