A JOBLESS scaffolder "went out of control" and was at the heart of a catalogue of crime from North Yorkshire to Teesside.

John Shields went on shoplifting sprees after travelling to Northallerton and also tried to steal from a supermarket in his home town of Stockton.

The 32-year-old prolific offender was jailed for a year when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

The court heard how he already had 108 previous offences on his record – mostly for shop thefts – before he committed a further ten in January and February.

He was caught after first stealing candles from Clinton Cards and perfume from Boyes, he claimed he had bought them at a market and had taken a train to Northallerton and met friends.

Within nine days of being charged and bailed – with a condition banning him from North Yorkshire – he was back in the town targeting Boyes for plug-in air fresheners and Boots for £200 worth of goods.

A police community support officer caught Shields in Romany Road, but he shoved her in the chest and fled, climbing up a tree, dropping onto a railway bridge then jumping on the tracks. He was arrested in the waiting room at the station.

The officer had been in the job for six months, and said she was now wary of going to work.

Prosecutor Shaun Dryden said Shields was stopped trying to steal £300 worth of goods from a Tesco store in Stockton three weeks later, and had been trying to put foil around bottles of vodka to trick the security tags.

Jennifer Coxon, mitigating, said: "Mr Shields accepts he was essentially out of control in the last couple of months, and he needs this time in custody to sort himself out.

"He finds it difficult in December every year because it is a time when he lost his mother and grandmother in two years, and as a result of that, he started drinking heavily and taking drugs, and got addicted to heroin again. Because of his chaotic lifestyle, he wasn't on any prescription."

Shields, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, admitted five thefts, possessing an offensive weapon, going equipped for theft, breaching bail and a suspended sentence and assaulting an emergency worker.

Judge Howard Crowson told him: "You appeared to be making your money by theft, and certain shops were more targeted than others. Mainly, you were quite brazen."