Gainsborough shoplifter given ‘one remaining chance’ by judge

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

A drug user who stole hundreds of pounds worth of meat from stores has been given a chance to go straight.

Stuart Foster was already on two suspended jail sentences when he went shoplifting in Gainsborough town centre.

Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that in August last year Foster twice went to the Tesco store on Trinity Street and walked out without paying for meat worth a total of £99.

Foster was arrested and released under investigation but on two consecutive days in September he went shoplifting at Marks and Spencer.

On the first occasion he stole £438 worth of meat and then took a further £300 worth the following day.

Foster, 43, of Lea Road, Gainsborough, admitted four charges of theft from a shop. He also admitted breach of suspended jail sentences imposed at Grimsby Crown Court in January 2018 and at Leicester Crown Court in March 2018.

Judge Andrew Easteal ordered the two suspended sentences to remain in place and in addition gave Foster a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement, up to 30 days of rehabilitation activity and a two-month, electronically-monitored night-time curfew.

The judge told Foster: “Were it not for the time you have spent in custody and the way in which you have used that time I would unhesitatingly have activated a large portion, if not all, of the suspended sentences you have hanging over you.

“You will only get this one remaining chance.”

David Eager, in mitigation, said: “He relapsed into heroin use. He has gone out to commit shoplifting to support that heroin use.”

He said Foster had spent the last three months on remand and had been working with the probation service to deal with his issues.

“He is committed to staying drug free,” he added.

“I think he deserves a chance even though he failed last year and relapsed.”