Homeless shoplifter wanted to be caught so he could get help

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A serial offender and shoplifter with 170 crimes to his name revealed that he had been “hammering” the same store in the hope he would be caught to get help and accommodation.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Tuesday, November 15, how homeless Christopher John Stevenson, 38, of No Fixed Abode, admitted stealing from the Co-operative store, at Holme Hall, Chesterfield, three times.

Prosecuting solicitor Neil Hollett said: “The defendant was seen in the store on October 28 concealing various items while attempting to leave including two jars of coffee and peanuts.

“Police were called and as staff were dealing with the defendant they recognised him for other theft offences from October 9 and October 24.”

Stevenson admitted committing all three thefts and he told police he had been going to the store because he wanted to go back to prison to get support and help to get accommodation.

Mr Hollett added that Stevenson had sold on the items stolen during the October 9 and October 24 offences which included blocks of cheese, washing powder, coffee and steak.

Stevenson pleaded guilty to committing the three thefts.

Defence solicitor Steve Brint said his antecedent history includes 65 appearances before the courts and 170 offences.

Mr Brint added: “The majority of his life has been spent unemployed and homeless and addicted to alcohol and he has been in and out of custody.

“He had got involved in the most recent offending in order to get caught because he was sick of his life sleeping in shop doorways, drinking alcohol and getting arrested and coming before the courts and going to custody.

“He is normally a young man who lives on the streets and he has no income and has no entitlement to benefits and he goes to food banks or steals.”

The court heard how Stevenson had previously placed in a bail hostel at Worksop but fell out with another resident and he came back to Chesterfield.

Mr Brint added: “When he was arrested he said he had been ‘hammering them’ so he could get help from the probation service.

Magistrates sentenced Stevenson on November 17 to a 12 month community order with an Alcohol Treatment Requirement and a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

He was also fined £40 and must pay £216.98 in compensation.