Thief steals lighting and gardening tools from Sunderland Wickes store in ‘moment of reckless madness’

Paul Middleton, 42, slipped lighting and gardening tools into Wickes ‘store in Wessington Way, Sunderland on Sunday April 11, the South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Paul Middleton, 42, slipped lighting and gardening tools into the Wickes store in Wessington Way, Sunderland on Sunday April 11.

Middleton, of Rutherglen Road, Red House, escaped through an emergency exit but raised the alarm.

He was glued by security staff in the outlet parking lot before he could escape with his £ 193 transport, South Tyneside magistrates have heard.

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The father, who defended himself in court, admitted that his theft offer had been a “moment of madness”.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck told the hearing: “At 1 pm, a witness states that Mr. Middleton entered the store.

“He reached the shelves and retrieved various items, bagged them and left the store through an alarmed exit, avoiding payment.

“This alerted the staff and as he walked through the parking lot he was stopped by security.

“The goods always carried their security labels. The police arrived and he was arrested.

“He was taken to Southwick Police Station, where he was questioned about the theft.

“He said he stole the items because he was skinny.”

Ms Beck told the hearing Middleton had 16 previous convictions for 51 offenses, 21 of which were thefts or related matters and were last in court in 2018.

She added: “There is no claim for compensation. All the goods have been recovered.

Middleton, who pleaded guilty to theft, said: “It was stupid. It was a moment of madness. I have a full time job. I apologized to my family.

Judge President Dr Alistair Robson agreed, adding, “You know what you did was wrong.

“We could throw the book at you, but you came today and pleaded guilty and wasted no time in court.

“This act of reckless madness will cost you £ 419.”

Middleton was fined £ 300 and court costs £ 85 and a victim fine surcharge of £ 34.

The court heard he also owed £ 290 in fines and past costs which he had not paid.

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