Thief loses appeal

A MAN who ran a computer shop in Hartlepool lost an appeal against his prison sentence for fleecing customers and stealing from his daughter.

David Peterson, 44, who ran a shop in the town’s Stockton Road, stole a £50 TV from his daughter after an argument with her and sold it.

The relentless thief, who also admitted stealing from customers at his shop and from a previous tenant of his premises, was jailed for two years at Teesside Crown Court in December.

Senior judges sitting at the Court of Appeal in London rejected Peterson’s challenge to the length of the sentence, which was passed for six thefts and one fraud.

“He has a truly eye-watering record: 153 offences, mostly for pinching,” said Lord Justice Laws.

The court heard Peterson leased a computer repair shop in Stockton Road, Hartlepool, and often took the opportunity to steal from his customers.

In November 2011, he failed to return a £130 printer left by a customer, then in February and March 2012, he took computers worth a total of more than £1,500 from two others.

A previous tenant of the premises also lost out to Peterson’s pilfering when he pocketed two batches of clothing which went to the shop after she had moved on.

Around the same time, Peterson’s daughter went to stay with him and, after an argument, he sold her television set at a Cash Generator shop.

In April 2012, he called police, claiming he had been burgled and radiators, a boiler and fridge stolen, but later admitted he had sold the items for scrap.

A probation officer’s report said Peterson, of Laybourne Terrace, Stockton, took responsibility for his criminal behaviour, but that he tended to minimise the impact on his victims.

His lawyers argued that the two-year term was too tough, but the complaint was rejected by Lord Justice Laws, Mr Justice Mackay and Sir Hugh Bennett.

Sir Hugh said: “In our view, the Recorder of Middlesbrough rightly regarded the appellant as a persistent offender and rightly said that the offences were such as to cause misery for the victims.

“The appellant has an appalling record. Whilst that’s no ground for increasing the sentence, it provides absolutely no grounds whatsoever for mitigation.

“In our view, the total sentence of two years cannot be said to be manifestly excessive and the appeal will be dismissed.”