Bolton: Prolific shoplifter given chance to ‘turn life around’

Clinton Flynn entered the store on Middlebrook in February this year and made off with cleaning products.

Bolton Magistrates Court heard Flynn had taken steps since this to address his drug issues.

Nicola Mills, prosecuting, said: “The incident occurred on 25 February this year at around 3.50pm.

“Two men entered the Middlebrook store.

“They went to the cleaning products.

“They took a plain carrier bag out and place a number of items in.

“They accelerated to the car park opposite.

“The incident was then reported.

“Police officers saw the footage and identified the defendant.”

Flynn, from Loma Fold, Little Lever, pleaded guilty to theft of £150 items from a shop.

The court heard he had committed 111 offences before and 89 of these related to thefts.

It also heard he had been given a suspended sentence in August 2022 which was operational at the time of the offence.

Michelle Buckle, defending, said: “From 2016 to 2021 there was a significant gap in his offending.

“The reason for that is that he was drug free for five years.

“He relapsed in 2020.

“He was frustrated with himself for going back on drugs.

“He was given a drug rehabilitation requirement but the methadone was not enough.

“The prescription was later increased.

“The drug rehabilitation requirement has now ended but he is still working with Achieve.

“He has not had seven negative drug tests.”

Flynn, 46, was also asked to address the bench.

He said: “If I went to custody I will lose everything, I will be back to square one.”

Chair of the bench Alex Walker opted not to active the suspended sentence.

He fined him £50 for the breach of the sentence and ordered him to pay compensation of £150 to Wilko.

He said: “We know the national situation but there will be creditors that need paying.”

He said to Flynn: “We are trying to give you this final opportunity to turn your life around.”

This week shoplifting was described as an “epidemic” by the chair of another retailer and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed to see improvements in the police’s response to it.

In Bolton a new police operation has been launched to tackle town centre crime, particularly shoplifting and robbery.

Shoplifting was described as an epidemic by John Lewis chairwoman Dame Sharon White.

The store is among ten in the UK which have agreed to contribute £600,00 towards a police crackdown on it.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he hoped for “significant improvements” in the way police approach the crime.

He said: “Shoplifting is clearly unacceptable and then the public would expect us to work with police forces to drive down crime.

“It’s worth noting that crime overall has fallen significantly, whether it’s on neighbour crimes like burglary, robbery, vehicle theft, or indeed violent crime.

“Police forces in England and Wales have rightly committed to pursuing any available evidence where there’s a reasonable chance it could lead them to catching a perpetrator and solving a crime, and we hope to see significant improvements in the way the police approach crimes like shoplifting to bring more offenders to justice.”


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