Warwick man with 100 shoplifting offences jailed

The Justice Centre in Leamington, which is home to Warwick Crown Court.
The Justice Centre in Leamington, which is home to Warwick Crown Court.

A Warwick man with 40 pages of previous convictions, including more than 100 offences of shoplifting, began stealing again just a month after being given a chance.

And a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard that Lee Wykes was stealing ‘on a daily basis’ to fund a heroin addiction.

Wykes (19) of Pickard Street, Warwick, who had pleaded guilty to 14 charges of theft, was jailed for 28 weeks in his absence after he refused to leave his cell for the hearing.

And Judge Barry Berlin ordered him to serve the sentence consecutive to six weeks of a 20-month suspended sentence he was subject to at the time.

That had been imposed in January for two offences of theft and for frighteningly threatening a member of staff at one of the stores with an uncapped hypodermic needle.

On that occasion he escaped being jailed because he had already spent seven month in custody on remand and was said to have been drug-free during that time.

But prosecutor Jennifer Josephs said that a month later on February 13 Wykes began stealing again by taking five bottles of wine from the Sainsbury’s store in Warwick, and repeatedly returned to the same places.

On May 10 he stole a number of packs of meat from M&S in Warwick, and two days later stole 42 bars of chocolate from the Co-op by walking out with them and getting into a waiting car.

On May 20 he targeted Sainsbury’s again, and the following week he went into a BP service stating from where he also stole wine.

Later the same day he carried out a further theft at M&S before returning to the garage and stealing more wine.

He went back again three days later and stole coffee and other items, including meat, worth more than £90.

On June 3 Wykes had a change of venue, stealing a Vac cleaner from Homebase, and four days later carried out another theft from Sainsbury’s.

He was arrested on June 13 and admitted one of the offences but made no comment in relation to the others, and was released.

The next day he went back to M&S where a member of staff saw him helping himself to a packs of steak and challenged him, but he simply ignored them and walked out.

The police saw him the next day in Pickard Street and arrested him, taking him to the police station via a pharmacy for him to get his methadone prescription.

Miss Josephs pointed out that Wykes had 342 previous offences on his record, including more than 100 thefts.

Graeme Simpson, defending, said: “There is very little I can say on his behalf, because I have no instructions.

“This man is a prolific offender. He’s clearly a hopeless drug addict, stealing on a daily basis to fund his heroin habit.”

Sentencing Wykes, who had been due to appear via a video link from HMP Hewell, Judge Barry Berlin said: “Mr Wykes has refused to come out of his cell. That is a deliberate choice.

“He has some 40 pages of previous convictions including 114 theft offences, and he’s in breach of a suspended sentence made in January this year. He is a practiced shoplifter.”