Court gives thief a chance as he battles to overcome drugs

Court report.
Court report.

A drug-troubled thief who has been making efforts to turn his life around has been given a chance despite being caught shoplifting.

Darren Eckersley, 46, stole a North Face baseball cap and a Berghaus rucksack from Millets, on Rutland Square, in Bakewell.

But Eckersley, of Buxton Road, Furness Vale, was given a conditional discharge after a Chesterfield magistrates’ court hearing on June 27.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said on June 10 a member of staff saw Eckersley in the store and as the defendant walked out a security alarm sounded and he was chased and caught.

Eckersley who has 20 theft and kindred offences on his record was caught with the rucksack, according to Mrs Allsop, and the cap was later found in his trousers.

Mrs Allsop added that the defendant offered to pay for the rucksack before he was arrested and admitted he had taken the two items.

Eckersley, who pleaded guilty to the theft, told the court he was released from jail last year and he had got a job but he had a relapse and had gone back to his “bad old ways”.

He told the court that the theft was linked to drugs.

The probation service confirmed Eckersley had been released from prison in October, last year, and he is still on post-sentence supervision until July 27.

However, they also revealed that he has been testing negative for drugs and he has been attending all his probation appointments.

Magistrates described Eckersley’s record as “horrendous” but they were impressed to see he had found work and been co-operating with the probation service.

They sentenced him to a 12 month conditional discharge but warned that if he re-offends in the next year he will be re-sentenced for the theft along with any other new offence.

Eckersley was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.