Serial Plymouth shoplifter appears in court for 182nd time
AN ALCOHOLIC who has committed more than 300 offences over half a century has been jailed yet again on his 182nd appearance in court.
Serial shoplifter Robert Knowles, 65, stole whisky a day after being released from his previous prison sentence, Plymouth Crown Court heard.
He was released on bail despite his record and stole more alcohol from another shop four days later.
Now a judge has sent Knowles back to prison for 12 months.
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Recorder Robin Belben said: "This is the 182nd time you have appeared before the courts, nearly all of them for shoplifting in recent years.
"You have been caught in a revolving door over the last two or three years. You commit an offence, you go to prison and you commit another as soon as you are released."
Knowles had earlier admitted theft of whisky miniatures worth £10 from Tesco on September 20.
He also pleaded guilty to theft of two bottles of whisky, chicken and clothes worth £80 from Marks and Spencer on September 24.
Knowles has chalked up something like 330 offences since 1959, when he was sent to an approved school around the age of 13.
David Gittins, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Knowles was arrested in the New George Street branch of Tesco with £160 in his pocket.
He was released on bail but only four days later was spotted by security staff in Marks and Spencer. The court heard that this time he was arrested and kept behind bars.
Llewellyn Sellick, for Knowles, said he had been staying at a hostel in Stonehouse and had money from his prison discharge grant at the time of the first offence.
He added that before the second offence his money had been stolen by some people he had met on the Barbican.
Mr Sellick said: "He has become institutionalised by the way he has spent his life. He knows he is going back to prison again today. There is nothing probation can do."
He added that Knowles did not receive a pension, which his solicitors were trying to resolve, so he would at least have money on his release.