A Leamington man who had a BB gun in his rucksack when he was arrested for shoplifting while subject to a suspended sentence has been given another chance.
Alistair Tallis pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to theft and possessing an imitation firearm, having already admitted other thefts.
Prosecutor Ian Speed said that on May 27 Tallis, 25, of Gloucester Street, stole perfume and drink from the Morrison’s supermarket in Leamington.
Three days later he stole a charger from Sainsbury’s and then a mobile phone from another shop.
But he was caught by a security officer who pursued him when he left and detained him, during which the phone was damaged.
Tallis was led back to the shop, and when the police arrived and searched him, they found a BB gun in his rucksack.
But Mr Speed observed: “There is no suggestion it was ever used or intended to be used, because if there had been, he would have used it when challenged by the security guard.
“He says he was subject to a drug debt and was getting hassle from a gang, and had it for his own protection.”
Tallis was granted bail, and on July 6 he stole food, drinks and a phone charger from Boots, then on August 15 he went into the Tesco store in Leamington town centre and stole three bottles of vodka.
Mr Speed pointed out that at the time of the offences Tallis was already subject to a 12-month suspended sentence imposed in November last year for dangerous driving and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.
He had already appeared at the court once before for breaching the order by committing shop thefts – and on that occasion in July, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano deferred sentence.
And at the latest hearing, the judge commented: “He has been coming to see me quite regularly, because at the beginning of the summer there was some suggestion we could get things straight.”
Mr Speed added that as well as committing more offences, Tallis was in breach of the suspended sentence by failing to turn up for probation appointments.
Observing that Tallis had been remanded in custody since August,
Judge de Bertodano said: “If I sentence him to custody, after he’s released in a month or two, without support, that’s not going to help anyone. I am keen to give him some support, given that my alternative is a custodial sentence with little time remaining.”