Desperate 21-year-old’s store shoplifting sprees

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A serial shoplifter who carried out a spree of thefts at supermarkets because he was penniless has been jailed.

Jack Mountford, who has no permanent home but gave an address in Leigh, pleaded guilty to no fewer than eight incidents of theft at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Mountford, 21, carried out his one-man crime wave just a few weeks after being released from prison.

The prolific offending finally came to a halt when he was detained at Tesco in Atherton over stealing an electric toothbrush and it came to light that CCTV confirmed he had carried out the other seven offences.

The court heard Mountford had threatened security guards during his spree but was also told he received no benefits and was stealing to survive. Justices were also told he had completely failed to engage with the probation service as he had been supposed to do after leaving jail.

Prosecuting, Jane Deakin said: “The defendant has threatened security guards. He shouted at one that he would kill him and swore at another one and asked him what he would do about his stealing. He also gave false details for the final incident in Atherton but then fully admitted all the offences in interview.” The court heard Mountford stole a TV worth almost £400 from Golborne Asda and took £64 of alcohol from Sainsbury in Leigh.

The offences then became more frequent with Mountford stealing £40 of booze from Sainsbury before returning the following day to take more drink and also stealing £36 of alcohol from Leigh Asda the same day. He struck twice more at that store before being caughter at Atherton Tesco on March 14.

Defending, Colin Rawson said Mountford was in a truly desperate position and he hoped another spell behind bars would impress on him the need to start sorting his life out.

Mr Rawson said: “I’m trying to understand how a 21-year-old man has got himself into this position. It is a sad case and I wish I had the answer but at this moment in time I don’t.

“He has no permanent fixed abode and doesn’t claim benefits, so the simple fact is he’s trying to survive on a daily basis. Over the past few weeks the only way that has been achieved is by committing these low-level shoplifting matters.

“I’ve tried to explain to him the help that is available via the probation service but his lifestyle choices are so chaotic that this has been neglected.”

The bench jailed Mountford for six months and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge on release.