Plymouth shoplifter offended hours after appearance
A PROLIFIC shoplifter stole within hours of being released from a previous court appearance.
Derrick Lawson, aged 58, took tins of food from a supermarket on the same day he was convicted of an earlier theft.
Lawson, who has 37 previous convictions for similar matters, admitted theft of food worth £3.58 from Aldi on December 29.
Magistrates had deferred sentence for another shoplifting matter earlier that day on condition he committed no further offences.
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The court heard he was already on a community order, including alcohol treatment, again for two previous theft offences.
Magistrates also deferred their decision on the latest theft and he was released on bail to be sentenced for all matters on February 25.
Howard Phillips, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said he paid for some goods at the supermarket but hid two tins of food in his clothes.
He added: "He is a persistent shoplifter and has been for many years."
Alex Travers, for Lawson, of no fixed address, said he had the money to pay for the food but she said stealing had become "something of a habit".
She added he had a long history or alcohol abuse but had made progress in tackling the problem.
But the court heard that treatment sessions had ceased over the Christmas period.
Mrs Travers said he was now staying at a hostel but was hoping to be re-housed in his own place in Tavistock.
She added: "He is starting to realise he has mental health difficulties."