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Shoplifter fined after missing court to care for ill grandmother

By NDJPeter  |  Posted: March 09, 2014

Magistrates
Comments (2)

MAGISTRATES have fined a Bideford shoplifter after he failed to attend a court hearing as he was caring for his ill grandmother.

Laurence East, 27, of Lane Field Road, Bideford, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft when he appeared at North Devon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to the court without reasonable excuse after missing a previous hearing in February.

Although on that occasion the court received notice of his non-attendance, magistrates decided the explanation provided was not a reasonable excuse and agreed to press charges.

East was initially summoned to court in relation to two thefts which took place in Bideford on January 15.

The court heard how East had stolen a £4 bottle of wine from Coop, and a £25 pair of jeans from the Original Factory Shop within hours of each other, on both occasions entering the stores with no money.

Lyndsey Baker, for the prosecution, told the court that when police confronted East about the thefts, he was also found with a pair of wire cutters - although he denied these were used in either of the incidents.

East, who had no legal representation, told the court the crimes had been committed in a moment of desperation.

He said: “I had a drug problem and I moved from Hastings to Devon to get away from it all. I stayed clean for quite a long time until December or January when I fell into the wrong crowd again.

“I got back into the same role again, but now I have found myself a job and got clean again.”

Magistrates fined East a total of £150 for the two thefts and for failing to surrender to the court. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20, costs of £60 and compensation of £29.

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2 comments

  • -l0l-  |  March 21 2014, 8:53PM

    Yep I have a lot to say, I think it's so wrong to put my name and address up for family and friends to see, oh and plus for the people I do work for. Since this add I have lost family friends and work, so after putting my name up in lights I have lost not only money but part of my life that I have only just got together. I think this is wrong putting small petty crime in local paper with the name of the convicted, it should be the rapests, pedofiles, killers and heartless thugs. I have a girlfriend I love very much and a happy life now we get looked at and talked about. #### you

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  • Live2Win  |  March 09 2014, 11:50PM

    So this guy gets screwed over. I would say u work for 5 hours to pay off the jeans and where he stole the wine work for an hour and apologize. Not screw the guy over £260 quid his grandmother is ill but oh no thats not acceptable. No wonder each and everyone of u are a bunch of corrupt *****.

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