Serial thief with 100 offences walks free from court

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A serial thief has walked free from court with a fine after committing his 100th criminal offence.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Tuesday, September 20, how Stephen James Donaldson, 30, of Hipley Close, Holmehall, Chesterfield, had committed 99 previous criminal offences before he stole two packets of biscuits.

Prosecuting solicitor Christopher Knowles said: “Two males had gone into the Tesco Extra store at Chesterfield including this defendant and they selected packets of biscuits and bottles of wine and the defendant secreted two packets of biscuits on his person.

“They went to the till and paid for the wine but the defendant made no attempt to pay for the biscuits.”

The court heard how Donaldson was caught on CCTV footage and identified and he made full admissions to the police that he had stolen the biscuits.

Jobless Donaldson pleaded guilty to the theft which happened on September 2 and he also admitted committing this offence while he was still subject to a conditional discharge for a previous theft.

Mr Knowles added that Donaldson already has a lengthy criminal record with 49 previous convictions including 99 previous offences.

Defence solicitor Felicity Coats said: “It’s a ludicrous offence because he had the money to pay for these items which totalled only £1.24.”

Mrs Coats added that Donaldson has a mental health condition and he could not remember leaving the store but she accepted that he does have a “significant record” for shop thefts.

Magistrates fined Donaldson £80 and ordered him to pay £1.24 compensation.

Donaldson was spared from paying any legal costs or a victim surcharge because magistrates felt he had limited means.

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