A “prolific” shoplifter has narrowly escaped being sent to prison after admitting stealing more than £500 worth of items from six of Falmouth’s shops – when he was already on a suspended sentence.

Jack Edward Pickering had already pleaded guilty to seven offences of theft from a shop, spanning a five-month period, when he appeared before magistrates in Truro last Thursday (April 20) for sentencing.

As reported by the Packet last year, the 38-year-old, of Trevethan Road, Falmouth, was already on a suspended sentence, after admitting he stole six bottles of wine from a Spar store in the town last year.

He was described as a “prolific shoplifter” at the time of his sentencing last June, when he was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

The first of the latest shoplifting offences took place just eight weeks after he received that sentence.

On August 19 last year, Pickering stole £60 worth of items from Select Convenience Store in Berkley Vale.

This was followed by the theft of £70 worth of items belonging to Spar West Place/Albany Road on October 17 last year, then theft of £28 worth of items from WH Smith on October 20 last year, and stealing £185 worth of items from Holland and Barrett on the same date.

The next day, on October 21 last year, Pickering stole bottles of alcohol, the value of which is unknown, from the Co-op in Falmouth, and on December 15 last year he stole bottles of spirit worth £168 from Tesco Express.

He was then back to the Co-op on January 6 this year, when he stole alcohol, pasties, a bottle of water and a bottle of Lucozade, with the value again unknown.

In total he stole £511 worth of known value items, in addition to the further items for which the value is not known.

For all of the offences he was given a total of 11 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay in total £685 in compensation to the businesses.

Magistrates said the reason for custody was because the offence so serious and consistent and prolific offences whilst on an SSO, even though they didn’t actually send him to prison.

There was no order for costs as compensation was prioritised.

He was also ordered to comply with a 12 month supervision order with treatment for drug dependency under the direction of We Are With You for nine months which would be reviewed monthly.

He must also attend rehabilitation activity requirement to participate in any activity as required up to a maximum of 30 days. He must also carry out unpaid work for 50 hours within the next 12 months.

For committing further offences during the operational period of a suspended sentence order made by Cornwall Magistrates' Court on June 23, there was no action taken although he was fined £50.

His guilty pleas to all offences were taken into account when imposing sentence.