Bury shoplifter who is banned from town centre shops avoids jail after reoffending

Bury Magistrates' Court
Bury Magistrates' Court
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A shoplifter from Bury St Edmunds, who was banned from town centre shops, has avoided jail after reoffending.

Michael Longden, of Ashwell Road, was the first in Bury St Edmunds to receive a criminal behaviour order (CBO), which replaced ABSOs in 2014, after stealing two bottles of wine from Marks and Spencer, on September 14, 2015.

This breached a community protection notice, which had already banned him from all town centre shops, for the fourth time.

As well as being banned from the shops for two years, the 36-year-old faced jail if he breached the CBO.

On Monday he pleaded guilty to stealing a bottle of alcohol from Aldi in Newmarket Road, Bury St Edmunds, which is outside of the CBO zone.

Longden pleaded guilty to the theft of a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila from the supermarket on January 8.

The court was told that staff in the shop has become suspicious when Longden entered then left the shop without purchasing any items.

As he left the building, the bottle, which had a security tag on it, set off an alarm and he was stopped outside the building.

When a member of staff asked Longden to empty his pockets the bottle was found in his inside jacket pocket, and the police were called.

Longden admitted the theft and did not resist arrest, handing back the bottle.

On their arrival he told officers “I selected a bottle and left without paying”, later confirming this at both interview and when in court.

Nick Jennaway, in mitigation, said Longden had stolen the alcohol as he had no money as his benefits were not due to be paid until the next day.

He said Longden recently had his medication changed and this left him with a number of side-effects.

The court heard that Longden had twice broken his CBO and this latest offence was in breach of a conditional discharge from a previous offence.

Mr Jennaway said Longden suffered from a ‘troubled history’, suffering brain damage following a serious car collision when he was younger.

He told the court his client had been recently housed, having been homeless and living in a tent for two years.

He said the medication change had been the ‘trigger’ for the latest offences.

“He has been on the same medication for five years but his doctor is trying to change this causing him a great deal of side effects, and so he was drinking a lot more than usual to numb the pain,” said Mr Jennaway.

He added his client was trying to resolve his medication issues with the probation service and support enterprise Turning Point and had an appointment to discuss his medication with a new GP.

Chairman of the magistrates David Stevens said he wanted Longden to ‘continue to work with the probation service and Turning Point’.

It was decided to revoke the conditional discharge after its breach and extend it for a further six months. He was also given a curfew to remain at his property from 8pm-6am for the next four weeks.

He must also pay £50 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.