Drug-plagued thief faces jail if he cannot stay out of trouble

Court hearing.
Court hearing.

A thief with an “appalling” criminal record has been warned that if he commits another offence or fails to comply with the probation service he will be going to prison.

Gareth Fox, 39, of Cromford Lane, Fairfield, Buxton, admitted stealing two tops from Marks and Spencer, at Spring Gardens, in Buxton, while he was subject to a suspended prison sentence, according to a Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court hearing on August 29.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “He was seen in suspicious circumstances after leaving with items and was seen by police and they went to his house.”

Mrs Allsop added that police recovered the stolen tops from his home and Fox told them his intention was: “to sell the tops to help him buy heroin.”

Fox pleaded guilty to stealing two tops after the theft on August 28.

Defence solicitor Kirsten Collins said Fox assisted police in recovering the stolen property and he gave a full account at the police station and he spent a night in custody.

She explained that Fox had been struggling to get a prescription to take for his heroin addiction from the pharmacy because it had been a bank holiday weekend and the pharmacy had been closed.

Miss Collins added that Fox has a long-standing drug problem and he needs help but he has been staying at Macclesfield Road, Burbage, instead of Fairfield to avoid opportunities to access drugs.

Fox’s partner is also due to be released from custody, according to Ms Collins, and if Fox was allowed to keep his liberty Miss Collins said he will be in a better position to support her.

District judge Andrew Davison opted to defer sentencing until October 10 to allow Fox to prove he can stay out of trouble.

He told Fox: “If you make it that long I will not be sending you to custody. However, if you commit any offence or don’t comply with requirements you will come back to court and you will go to prison for 34 weeks.”

District Judge Davison, who described Fox’s criminal record as “appalling”, warned that if he commits a further shoplifting offence he will also receive a further eight to 12 weeks of custody. Fox was also told that he must make payments towards an outstanding fines owed to the court.