‘Professional thief’ sentenced to 18 weeks’ jail

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A MAN has been jailed for 18 weeks after magistrates branded him a ‘professional thief’.

Jason Woodley, 47, of School Lane, Bardwell, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Nikki Miller, prosecuting, told the court that on June 9 Woodley stole six Stone Island polo shirts from Six Whiting Street, in Bury, valued at £507.

A few months earlier, on March 28, Woodley had also stolen two combi drills from DJ Evans worth £332.

Mrs Miller told the court that Woodley had a prolific criminal record with a total of 99 dishonesty crimes to his name, 78 of them for theft.

She told the court that the manager of Six Whiting Street had noticed Woodley on CCTV cameras.

She said: “He noticed the defendant on CCTV and saw that he left the shop hurriedly.

“He saw he had slipped a number of Stone Island polo shirts and had then put them in a bag.”

She said that after leaving the shop, Woodley had visited the Wetherspoon pub in Bury in an attempt to sell the shirts.

When police found him, they conducted a search and discovered he had five shirts in his possession.

Police noted that Woodley had six hangers in the bag although Mr Woodley denied that he had already sold one of the shirts.

On the previous incident at DJ Evans, Mrs Miller said that Woodley had entered the shop with a female and went to power drill aisle.

He had put a box down on the floor which he used to hide the drills.

“When the male and female walked away there were no other drills on the shelf.”

Mrs Miller said that to Woodley’s credit he admitted the theft once he had seen the CCTV footage but said the female, his partner, did not know what he was planning to do.

“He admitted he had no intention to pay and when his partner found out she said she did not approve of his actions,” she said.

Mrs Miller told the court that Woodley had 21 previous convictions for fraud and 78 for theft, making a total of 99 dishonesty offences.

“The record there really speaks for itself,” she added.

In mitigation, Declan Gallagher said Woodley had been caring for his 86-year-old mother who had health problems and asked the court to ban Woodley from all shops in Bury rather than jail him.

But presiding magistrate Ken Turner sentenced Woodley to 18 weeks in prison.

He said: “Mr Woodley your prior record is a total disgrace.

“It is clear to the court that you are a professional thief.

“With these matters only custody can be justified.

“On the first count of theft you will serve eight weeks in prison. For the second count of theft you will serve a further 10 weeks in prison bringing the sentence to 18 weeks in total.”