A serial shoplifter’s luck has run out as he was locked up for more than a year after committing a string of offences.

John Halse tormented and terrified shop staff with his repeated thefts, sometimes more than once a day, as he stole to fund to cocaine and drink addictions.

The 27-year-old regularly targeted shops in Hartlepool despite being banned from many of them and would target some several times in one day, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Cainan Lonsdale, prosecuting, said Halse’s latest shoplifting spree left him in breach of a suspended sentence and a deferred sentence.

He said the prolific shoplifter's first offence happened just 12 days after the defendant was given the deferred sentence for a raft of other shoplifting offences.

Mr Lonsdale said he stole four packages of baby milk worth £32 despite staff trying to stop him leaving the Spar on Wynyard Road, Hartlepool.

The Northern Echo: The Spar shop on Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, was a regular target for shoplifter John HalseThe Spar shop on Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, was a regular target for shoplifter John Halse (Image: Google)

He said Halse then targeted the One Stop shop on the same street on November 3 when he stole 12 boxes of Quality Street and several other items before returning five minutes later and stealing more goods.

On November 24, he returned to the Spar shop and stole more boxes of Quality Street while acting in an intimidating way towards staff.

Halse then stole three bottle of wine from the Morrisons daily shop on Brierton Lane.

Mr Lonsdale said during that spree the defendant stole £334 worth of goods and £887 worth of goods across his other admitted offences.

The Northern Echo: John HalseJohn Halse (Image: Cleveland Police)

Halse, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to a total of 32 theft offences, including those he received the suspended and deferred sentences for. He also pleaded guilty to breaching both of those orders.

Mark Styles, mitigating, said his client was fully anticipating a custodial sentence but was finally starting to address his cocaine and alcohol addictions whilst on remand.

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“It’s a continual theme,” he said. “The defendant being released, no home to go to and receiving no supportive measures.

“He has mental health problems, drug problems and drink problems.”

Recorder Alex Menary sentenced Halse to a total of 13 months for all offences.

He said: “These shop thefts all arise out of your addiction to cocaine and alcohol. It is to your credit that you have had a period of reflection on your lifestyle you are living and taking steps to address the problems.”