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Age won't save you from prison, warns judge
A PENSIONER who attempted to steal more than £200 of shopping from a supermarket was warned by a judge that his age may not stop him going to jail next time.
Peter Cooper, aged 70, of Wellesley Court, Bransford Road, St John’s, Worcester, admitted theft before District Judge Nigel Cadbury at Worcester Magistrates’ Court.
Cooper entered Morrisons supermarket in Malvern on November 7 and tried to make off with £204.58 of shopping. He also admitted a breach of a conditional discharge imposed on September 11, also for theft from Asda in Worcester, in July.
Jackie Rogers, prosecuting, said: “He has a trolley full of goods from around the store and heads to the entrance, passing the tills and making no attempt to pay for the goods in his trolley.
“He is then seen by a security guard and performs a U-turn, walking back towards the cafe. He was detained and all the goods were recovered.”
Cooper replied “No comment” to questions asked of him and would not provide an account of his actions, Mrs Rogers said.
Susie Duncan, defending, said: “If he had taken the goods he would have sold them to raise money to supplement his income.”
Cooper receives pension credit and a private pension of £230 per month. Mrs Duncan said he took medication for diabetes and angina and clinical depression.
She said: “He’s been very low for some time. His mother, whom he describes as his best mate, died in July and he hasn’t really got over that. He is very much on his own and doesn’t see many members of his family.”
She said he was insulin dependent and did not always take proper care of himself. She also said he had £15,000 of debt. His car has been repossessed and he remains on a community order which runs until 2016. He could not work because of his health issues.
District Judge Nigel Cadbury asked the pensioner if he had been driving out to Malvern instead of shopping locally in Worcester “to get away with this”.
Cooper said the store was the nearest Morrisons.
Mr Cadbury said: “If you were to continue to behave in this way a court may decide the only way it can stop you is a suspended sentence and, if you did it again, a prison sentence. It is the last thing a court wants to do to a 70-year-old man for relatively minor offences. Just beware.
“The courts will not stop sentencing people of your age to prison if they have to.”
Cooper was given a nine- month community order and was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 .