Jail term for serial shoplifter

A SERIAL offender has been jailed for nine months after throwing away previous chances that spared him from prison.

Scott Ferguson went out shoplifting despite having two separate prison sentences hanging over his head.

On May 1, he stole a joint of meat from a Co-op store in Hartlepool.

He hid it under his jacket and left the shop without paying, but was identified from CCTV footage.

The theft, worth just £9, put 34-year-old Ferguson in breach of two suspended sentences.

In May last year, he was sentenced to eight weeks prison, suspended for two years, by Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court for a series of low-value shop thefts.

And just two months ago, he was spared jail again for drug dealing offences by Teesside Crown Court.

Jacqueline Edwards, prosecuting, said Ferguson admitted possession of Class B and C drugs with intent to supply after he was caught with 51 diazepam tablets and cannabis on Raby Road, in Hartlepool.

The judge in April gave him nine months prison but suspended the sentence providing he did not commit further offences in the next 18 months.

Ferguson admitted the latest theft and was sentenced for the breaches at the crown court.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said Ferguson, of Harrow Street, Hartlepool, accepted he would be going to jail.

He said: “The theft matters were drug related. Thankfully when he was arrested and interviewed he tested negative for both opiates and cocaine.

“He has been on remand since May 6. He is trying to use his time usefully and can keep himself off drugs and hopefully have a fresh start when he comes out.”

Judge Michael Taylor said: “You were subject to a suspended sentence last year, and you breached it by committing further offences.

“You appeared at this court earlier this year for drugs offences and were given a further suspended sentence. It is the first time you have spent any time in custody and I don’t propose to impose the full suspended sentence, which you couldn’t complain if I did.”