'He did this to survive' - Hartlepool robber jailed after shop raid spree

A homeless man who robbed a store twice and shoplifted nine times from another one “to survive” has been jailed for three years.

By Newsroom
Friday, 1st July 2022, 5:50 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 6:06 pm

Darren O'Brien, 26, slept rough on the streets of Hartlepool after spending his childhood in care, Teesside Crown Court was told.

He claimed to have a knife when he robbed the One Below store, on the Tees Bay Retail Park, Hartlepool, twice in four days in March, threatening the manager and two staff, and then he went shoplifting at the town's Wilko store nine times in April, May and June.

He was filmed on CCTV and recognised by police officers, said prosecutor Shaun Dodds.

Darren O'Brien has been jailed after a Hartlepool theft spree.

When he was challenged by staff at the One Below store on March 24 and 28, he put his hand into his pocket saying on one occasion "If you don't leave me alone I'm going to stab you, I have a knife".

Among the items he stole in his spree were deodorants, air fresheners and confectionery.

Michele Turner, defending, said that O'Brien was not able to claim benefits at the time because he was homeless.

She added: "He did this to survive.

"He is aware of the likely outcome of today's case.

Judge Howard Crowson told him: "Perhaps you did not have a weapon but the staff did not know that and it made no difference."

O'Brien, now of Greenwood Close, Wheatley Hill, who appeared over a videolink from Durham Prison, was jailed for three years after admitting all 11 charges.

This consisted of 18 months consecutive for the robberies and one-month concurrent sentences for the nine thefts.

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