Shoplifter flees court before sentence

Crime story
Crime story

A WIGAN man who staged a shoplifting spree to fund his drug habit fled from court before he could be sentenced.

David Michael Hugill had stolen a large quantity of shaving equipment worth more than £300 from two branches of Boots, a hearing was told.

But before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates could pass judgement, they were informed that the 24-year-old had disappeared and so they issued a warrant for his arrest.

Hugill, who pleaded guilty to three theft charges, was caught on CCTV taking sets of razors and electronic shavers from two Boots stores in separate incidents in June.

Mike Ardern, prosecuting, told the court that while on bail for those offences Hugill also stole £20 worth of meat from the Tesco Express store on Poolstock Lane on July 19.

He was again caught on store cameras and chased by security guards before he threw the meat away during the pursuit.

The court was also told that Hugill of Broom Road, Worsley Hall, has 16 previous convictions for 21 offences “half-of-which are matters of dishonesty.”

And he had received an 18-month conditional discharge for a shoplifting offence in March.

Martin Jones, defending, told a hearing on Wednesday this week: “He was hoping to raise money to buy drugs, amphetamines.

“He believes he has pointed himself into a corner and approaches today with a degree of foreboding.

“He thought that he would be coming to court today to have a probation report prepared and so he missed a court appointment last Friday.

“That may be the final nail in his coffin.”

Hugill was then scheduled to appear at court on Thursday for his re-scheduled pre-sentence report to be written.

He did turn up, but after it was completed by probation officers and he spoke to them, he left the court building before his sentencing hearing.

None of the products taken from Boots – from the stores on the Robin Park retail site and Pemberton respectively – have been recovered.