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Bideford shoplifter fined for missing hearing

11:14 10 March 2014

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

The 27-year-old pleaded guilty to failing to appear as well as two counts of shoplifting.

A BIDEFORD shoplifter who missed a hearing to care for his sick grandma has been fined for failing to appear in court.

Lawrence East, of Lane Field Road, pleaded guilty to two counts of shoplifting after stealing a bottle of wine and a pair of jeans from two different shops.

The 27-year-old failed to attend his original hearing on February 7 and told the court it was because his grandma had suffered a fall and he had been caring for her.

Magistrates said given East’s previous convictions he would have known he could not miss the hearing and agreed to pressing charges for failing to appear in court.

East, who was unrepresented, pleaded guilty to failing to appear and admitting stealing the items from shops in Bideford.

The court heard he had entered the Co-Op in Mill Street on the afternoon of January 15, selected a bottle of wine and put it down his trousers.

Later that day he went into the Original Factory Shop and selected a pair of jeans. He took them to the changing room and put them on under his own before leaving.

East said he had moved to the area from Hastings to try and get rid of a drug problem but had ended up falling in with the wrong crowd again.

But he told the court he had got a job laying bricks in Ilfracombe and was now clean.

Magistrates fined him £100 in total for the shoplifting offences, £50 for failing to appear and ordered him to pay £29 compensation to both shops.

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