Prison sentence for prolific Sheffield shoplifter who armed himself with switch blade

A prolific Sheffield shoplifter who stole more than 1,700 of items and armed himself with a switch blade has been given a custodial sentence.

A prolific Sheffield shoplifter who stole more than £1,700 of items and armed himself with a switch blade has been given a custodial sentence.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how Rhys Thirwell stole a total of £1,765 of goods during a shoplifting spree that saw him target shops in Ecclesall Road and the city centre on eight separate occasions between May and August of last year.

He targeted shops including Boots on Ecclesall Road and a Premier store on Ecclesall Road and stole high-value items such as electric toothbrushes.

Thirwell, of no fixed abode, was finally caught on August 3, when police officers found a switch blade in his possession during a strip-search.

The 26-year-old admitted to eight counts of theft and a further count of possession of a bladed article during an earlier hearing.

Thirwell has previously been convicted of 56 offences, 32 of which were for shoplifting, the court heard.

Defending, Dermot Hughes, told the court: "He's been in trouble a lot, something caused by his addictions to drugs over the years.

"His main concern is that his father died on Christmas Day and he is hopeful he might be able to attend the funeral."

During the first part of the hearing, held yesterday, Thirwell told Judge Roger Thomas QC that he felt he was not being given enough support from the probation service to prevent him from committing further offences.

Judge Thomas sentenced him to 146 days in prison, all of which Thirwell has already served on remand, and ordered him to complete a 12-month community order.

He told Thirwell: "You've just been in trouble, in prison, in trouble, in prison.

"And your life, at the age of 26, has gone nowhere so far. I'm sure you're very motivated to keep out of trouble and to keep away from drugs.

"That is the starting point, but it's not going to end there. There's a lot to do, and it's only going to happen if you try very hard."

Judge Thomas told Thirwell that he must complete a nine-month rehabilitation programme, as part of his 12-month community order.

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