Serial shoplifter is jailed for Christmas

A SERIAL shoplifter, who stole from a Kirk Hallam shop just hours after being charged with stealing from a store in Ilkeston, will spend Christmas Day behind bars.

Derby Magistrates heard on Monday that recovering heroin addict Luke Meads, 30, stole from Boots in Bath Street and Co-op in Ladywood Road to pay off drug debts, after dealers had started hassling his pregnant girlfriend for money.

Meads, of Albany Street, stole from Boots twice, making off with gift sets on October 24 and aftershave worth £75 on October 29. He was arrested and charged for these offences at 3.40pm on November 13.

At 8.40pm the same day, he was captured on CCTV filling a bag with items worth a total of £70 at the Co-op store.

Fernando Rodrigues, prosecuting, told the court Meads had 28 previous convictions, including for shoplifting, the last of which was in August 2010.

Ais Wall, defending, said that Meads is now clean from heroin for the first time in five years and that his new girlfriend Holly Bennett, with whom he is expecting a child in January, has been a ‘major influence’ on getting him off drugs.

“He has turned his life around and is looking forward to a future with Miss Bennett,” she said.

But with drug debts of more than £200, dealers were said to have been ‘pressuring’ her and her children.

Mrs Wall continued: “He went out and stole in order to clear that drug debt.”

Magistrate Robert Lee sentenced Meads to eight weeks in prison, of which he will serve half, meaning he will be locked up over the festive period.

After the case, Insp Nick Daines at Ilkeston police station said: “I am very pleased that the courts have given out a positive message by imprisoning Mr Meads. It shows that shoplifting in Ilkeston will not be tolerated.

“I have no doubt that the shopkeepers of Ikeston will feel relieved in the run-up to Christmas that he’s not out to target their shops.”