A SERIAL shoplifter from South Yorkshire appeared in court in the morning and then went back out shoplifting in the afternoon, a judge said.
Drug addict Jay Jones, aged 30, of Bank Street, Worsbrough Common, Barnsley, has more than 60 previous convictions for dishonesty, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
He was caught stealing 25 bottles of shower gel from a discount store on May 25 this year.
He appeared at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court on the morning of August 10 to deny the charges of shoplifting - and that very afternoon went out stealing in the town.
He was caught again and immediately admitted the charges for the second crime. Less than week later, he appeared back in front of the magistrates, who jailed him for eight weeks.
Jones was released after serving half his sentence and was sent to Sheffield Crown Court to answer charges for the first offence of stealing the shower gel.
He eventually pleaded guilty - and received a lambasting from Judge Michael Murphy QC.
The judge said: “You were due for committal in court in the morning and went out shoplifting in the afternoon.
“You are not public enemy number one in Barnsley, but you are a persistent offender who is costing the state much more money than you put in.”
Judge Murphy said sending Jones to prison ‘for a six-week lie down’ would be the easy option - but instead told him to get his life back on track.
He told him if he didn’t get off drugs, in a matter of years he would be on the streets, adding, ‘if you are still alive, that is’.
Judge Murphy told the court: “Prison isn’t working for him apart from keeping him out of the way. It costs £1,000 a week to keep him in jail - he doesn’t care about that.
“If I sentence him now he would get maximum three months. He would be back at the shower gel department in no time, stealing again, because he would be back on drugs again.”
Judge Murphy told Jones: “I’m going to take a chance with you, simply because of the sums involved. There seems very little point in sending you back to prison at this stage.
“But this order will demand a lot more of you than a six-week lie down in Doncaster prison.”
Jones received a three-month jail term, suspended for a year, and a nine-month drug rehabilitation order.
But the judge warned: “You won’t get many more of these chances.”