Man shoplifted in ‘desperation’ after methadone script stopped

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Court heard the 34-year-old was caught ‘stuffing’ perfume sets and meat into his coat in a bid to sell them to buy heroin.

A BARNSTAPLE man shoplifted three times over the course of two days in an act of ‘total desperation’ when his methadone script was stopped, a court heard

Christopher Reed, of St Georges Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to stealing five Hugo Boss gift sets from Boots totalling £335 and £46.45 worth of meat from Co-Op.

The court heard the 34-year-old had gone to get his methadone script, which he has been on since 2010, from the pharmacy but was refused it as he ‘did not look well’.

He then went into the Boots store in Barnstaple and was caught by staff after ‘stuffing’ the perfume sets into his coat.


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The items were retrieved by staff but the next day Reed returned to the store and was caught once again putting similar items into his coat.

He was later seen on CCTV entering the Co Op store in Barnstaple and stealing meat. When police stopped him on both occasions he no longer had the items.

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Reed was remanded in custody where he appeared at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on January 20. His case was adjourned until his appearance on Friday.

Tim Hook, defending, said the way Reed had stolen the items showed a ‘complete lack of sophistication’ and was an act of ‘total desperation’ so he could buy heroin after suffering withdrawal symptoms from the methadone.

Upon hearing Reed had sorted his prescription and committed no further offences, magistrates imposed a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered him to pay compensation to the stores.

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