Jailed: Serial Telford shoplifter stole Milk Tray chocolates and whiskey in latest crime spree

A serial shoplifter with 176 offences on his record has been jailed after stealing Jack Daniels whiskey and Milk Tray chocolates.

Nicholas Smith, aged 36, had only been out of prison for eight days when he targeted shops in Telford in his latest spree, breaching criminal behaviour orders in the process.

Shrewsbury Crown Court was told that Smith stole the chocolates, worth £17.80, from Tesco Express in Wellington on January 24 this year. Five days later, he took four bottles of Jack Daniels worth a total of £79.90 from B&M at Forge Retail Park in Telford. He was already banned from both shops.

Smith, of Ley Brook, Oakengates, Telford, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and two breaches of a criminal behaviour order.

Those thefts came during a period where Smith was subject to a suspended sentence order for six other shoplifting offences. He was previously handed a six month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and warned if he offended again, he would be going to prison.

Olivia Appleby, prosecuting, said there ought to be an uplift in Smith's sentence due to the "sheer amount" of offences on his record.

Rosemary Proctor, mitigating, said Smith's drug addiction has caused him a "chaotic lifestyle", and that his father's death had triggered a relapse.

"He's back on track now," she added. "He's been clean for 18 weeks, and that's the longest period since his addiction began. He's put on stones in weight."

She also said he has been learning mentoring skills while behind bars and wants to "give something back to the community".

"He needs stability and a fresh start. He wants to prove himself, and prove he can stay clean for good. There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and it appears this time round he is determined to change."

Judge Peter Barrie told Smith: "You have a terrible record for stealing and breaching court orders. I have no doubt that has a great deal to with your drugs and alcohol use." He handed Smith a 10-month jail term for his most recent offences, and activated the suspended sentence, meaning Smith was given a total custodial period of 16 months. Smith is expected to serve half before being released on licence.

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