Tattoos clue to shoplifter's identity

REFORMED heroin user Alan Bridge was given a last chance by magistrates after admitting lying to police and shoplifting.Tattooed Bridge, of Angel Street, Hadleigh, stole £29 of perfume from an Ipswich department store then gave false details to police on his arrest.

REFORMED heroin user Alan Bridge was given a last chance by magistrates after admitting lying to police and shoplifting.

Tattooed Bridge, of Angel Street, Hadleigh, stole £29 of perfume from an Ipswich department store then gave false details to police on his arrest.

He was spotted by a store detective in Debenhams picking up a Tommy Hilfiger perfume set and "concealing it on his person", said Gareth Davies, prosecuting at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court, on Tuesday.

The court heard Bridge gave his name as Gary Grimwood.

But police officers spotted his distinctive tattoos and matched him with Alan Bridge, 35, who has a long list of previous convictions.

Mr Davies told the court giving a false name was a "big mistake" adding "quite often the cover up makes more trouble than the original offence."

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Nicky Edgar, mitigating, told magistrates Bridge had managed to stay out of trouble for a year and off heroin for about two to three months.

But before this he had a relapse and went round a friend's house where he was offered free heroin.

He had been on the straight and narrow, said Ms Edgar, when they approached him and asked him for some money for the drug.

"They shoved him into a shop saying take this and this, and he did," explained Ms Edgar.

Bridge stupidly gave a false name and address to police "in an attempt not to spiral downwards with yet another theft".

Bench chairman Martin Smith, sitting in Ipswich, fined him £100 for the theft, £50 for giving false details to police and £55 costs.

After hearing Bridge had given up heroin he told him: "We are going to take a chance and deal with it by way of a fine. We may be wrong.

"It may be that you are not going to give up heroin at all.

"Don't expect a second time to be given the chance we are giving you today."

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