A SERIAL thief wisely abandoned his appeal against his most recent prison sentence with only three weeks of the jail term still to serve.

Robert William Berriman received a total 12-week prison sentence when he appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe last month, after admitting two counts of theft and one of attempted theft, all of clothing, from two branches of the fashion store chain TK Maxx.

Durham Crown Court heard he took £299 worth of men’s shirts from the Bishop Auckland branch on October 18, last year, but dropped a bag containing the stolen goods when chased from the premises by security staff.

Six days later he escaped with eight jumpers and a pair of training shoes, worth a total of £569, from a TK Maxx store in Darlington.

But on his return to the branch, on November 4, he was recognised and police were called, arresting him before he was able to leave with several rolled up items.

He was subject to licence supervision after his release from a previous sentence for theft at the time.

Berriman, 41, of Alhambra Terrace, Ferryhill, was to have appealed the sentence at the court yesterday, but after taking advice from his counsel, Helen Towers, he decided to abandon the appeal, as the court could have increased the jail term, rather than just reduce the length.

Recorder Keir Monteith QC told Miss Towers there would have been “difficulties” with the appeal because of her client’s “poor compliance” with previous court orders, due to his continued offending.