One of Wigan’s most prolific ever crooks has avoided another spell in prison despite being hauled before magistrates for his 363rd crime.
Arthur McLean, who was described as having an “appalling” track record of offending, pleaded guilty to drunk and disorderly behaviour and a separate theft offence when he stood in the dock again this week.
The hearing was told that the 46-year-old was in an “extremely drunk” state in Poundland on March 4 and was abusive to staff after he was seen stumbling into shop fixtures.
He was shadowed by security staff and police were then called when they spotted a knife in his back pocket.
Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told Wigan and Leigh justices that McLean was later abusive to PCSOs but was facing no charges relating to the knife because it was a Swiss Army variety with a small blade that fell within the law.
The court also heard he had entered the town centre’s Wilko store on March 15 and taken a number of deodorants.
In police interview he admitted to officers that he planned to sell the items so he could buy beer. Ms Beattie told the court McLean, of Silverdale Avenue, Ince, had 361 previous offences to his name before the latest two crimes were added to his shameful rap sheet.
Kathryn Lloyd, defending, said her client has been an alcoholic in the past.
Having been recently released from a prison sentence, an administrative error had meant he had come under the jurisdiction of probation services in Derbyshire and therefore he had not had access to suitable rehabilitation.
Mrs Lloyd said McLean had made “full and frank” admissions and all the stolen items had been recovered. But “we can’t get away from his appalling record for theft,” she added.
Magistrates had warned McLean that a custodial sentence was not being ruled out, but after a short adjournment for probation reports they handed him a community order for the theft.
Between now and December 21 he must complete a rehabilition activity requirement and an alcohol treatment requirement while first abiding by a four-week curfew between 7pm and 7am daily. He must also pay an £85 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.
Separate penalties were not imposed for the drunk and disorderly offence.