Spectacle thief avoids jail

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A thief who snatched hundreds of pounds worth of glasses from a Wigan high street optician’s has avoided a spell behind bars.

Anthony Chambers had previously pleaded guilty to the theft at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, where justices heard that the 55-year-old had travelled to the town from Liverpool with the intention of committing the crime.

He walked into the Vision Express store on Standishgate and stole armfuls of spectacles and frames worth a total of £889.

Addressing the previous hearing, prosecutor Tess Kenyon said: “Mr Chambers was seen in Vision Express on May 28.

“After he had left the store there were found to be gaps in the stock.

“Mr Chambers was followed on foot and police were contacted.

“He was seen by the staff member to take glasses frames and put them into a carrier bag.”

Chambers, of Wellstead Road, Liverpool, was arrested and then taken to Wigan police station where he underwent questioning.

He admitted to his crime and told officers that he intended to sell the stolen goods for cash in order to buy drugs on which he was dependent.

Ms Kenyon added: “He had travelled to Wigan from Liverpool specifically to shoplift.

“He had no money and was taking cocaine.

“He intended to go back to Liverpool to sell the items.”

Ms Kenyon told the court that the glasses and frames were all safely recovered and returned.

Gary Golding, defending, said: “He admitted it and his reasons for doing so.

“If he gets help with his addiction you won’t see him before the courts again.”

At this week’s hearing justices handed Chambers a 12-month community order which includes an eight-week curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am, a drug rehabilitation requirement for six months and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge and another £85 in costs to the Crown Prosecution Service.