A PROLIFIC shoplifter with almost 200 previous convictions has been jailed following a £5,500 crime spree.

Kieron Clark, 30, stole alcohol and food from supermarkets as well as clothes and power tools between the end of June and the start of August this year.

Durham Crown Court heard he wants to turn over a new leaf and ‘go straight’ due to the imminent arrival of his first child.

But Judge Christopher Prince said he did not believe the thief’s pledge to change his ways and jailed him for 32 months.

Louise Harrison, prosecuting, said Clark, formerly, of Thornton Close, Ludworth, stole from Asda, the Co-op, Morrisons, B&Q and JD Sports.

She said: “The Crown say that these are category one offences because of the high value of the goods.

“There was some planning involved.

“This is a man who is going into shops removing high value goods using techniques he has developed.

“It is prolific and relentless sophisticated offending.”

The court heard that Clark had pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft at a previous hearing.

Ian West, mitigating, said: “It is hardly sophisticated offending.

“Yes, it is high value but it is by no means the most sophisticated, going into a shop, filling up a trolley with goods then covering them with dog food.”

The court Clark has 192 previous convictions.

In 2014, he was jailed for 23 months for beating up his girlfriend.

He initially told police he was at an England football international match in London, and later changed his story to say he had been with friends in east Durham.

He was arrested two days after the attack at the couple’s home at the time, in Ludworth, near Durham, in May 2013.

The assault was said to have taken place on their return home from drinking at a friend’s house in Easington.

Clark wrote a letter to the judge in which he said he wanted his future to be different now he is about to become a father.

He told the court he has the prospect of stable job with partner’s husband as a window cleaner and he has been drug since he was remanded into custody.

In a letter to the judge he said: “I have thought long and hard about the chaos I have caused for the last 15 years.

“I am desperate to end this nightmare and become a valuable member of society.

“Drugs have been a constant problem in my life.

“I will fully accept any help.

“I know I have got a lot of work to do.

“Please can I be given the chance to prove I am better than this?”

Judge Prince told Clark he did not accept his offer to change was genuine.

He said: “You have a record that is astonishingly long.

“You are a prolific and determined shoplifter who steals high value goods for your own benefit.

“You have been given every opportunity in the past in terms of community orders and suspended sentences.

“The courts have repeatedly given opportunities and you have completely and utterly failed to respond to these orders.

“You are a person who when he is at liberty is going to offend again and again and again.

“You have read out a letter assuring me that today everything is going to be different.

“I don’t accept that.

“I don’t think anything is going to change.

“If you are at liberty there is a high risk there is going to be more offending.”

“You could hardly be more prolific.”