Jailed Tesco port thief set to miss father’s funeral

Tesco Extra Hartlepool
Tesco Extra Hartlepool

A man who was jailed for theft told a court the sentence means he will miss his father’s funeral.

Stevie Howe made the remark from the dock of Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court after the bench sentenced him to seven weeks.

The court heard earlier Howe’s father was taken ill suddenly earlier this month, and died three days later.

“The shoplifting offence happened on January 21,” said Joanne Hesse, prosecuting.

“Howe attempted to leave Tesco without paying for two bottles of port.

“When challenged, he said he would have taken the port home to drink it.”

Howe, 40, of Borrowdale Street, Hartlepool, admitted theft on January 21, and he admitted being in breach of an eight-week suspended sentence imposed by Hartlepool Magistrates last September.

Dave Smith, defending, said in mitigation: “This offence was committed against a background of emotional turmoil.

“Mr Howe’s father was unexpectedly taken ill last Sunday, and sadly passed away three days later.

“His mother and brother are struggling to cope with what happened.

“Mr Howe was left to make all the funeral and other financial arrangements, including trying to raise funeral costs of a few thousand pounds.

“In his favour, he has been doing well on his probation order, his drugs use has declined, as has the regularity of his offending.

“When he went into Tesco that day, to use his own words, ‘his head went’.

“It was a clumsy offence which was always likely to be detected.”

The magistrates activated six weeks of the suspended sentence, and imposed an additional one week for the Tesco theft, making a total jail sentence of seven weeks.

As Howe was led from the dock to the cells, he said he would miss his father’s funeral.

Three people in the court’s public gallery heckled the magistrates as sentence was passed.