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OAP shoplifter John Crabtree BANNED from town centre shops

Crabtree, from Accrington, has 116 previous theft convictions

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John Crabtree

A prolific shoplifter has been BANNED from entering any Accrington town centre shop for two years.

John Crabtree, of Nuttall Street, Accrington, was handed a criminal behaviour order by magistrates after theft offences at Poundstretcher and Fulton Foods.

Blackburn Magistrates Court heard the 65-year-old had 116 previous theft convictions on his record including 16 offences this year.

Prosecutor Tracey Yates told the court Crabtree entered the Poundstretcher store on Eastgate Retail Park shortly before 12noon on March 18 and put several jars of coffee worth £13 under his coat before walking off.

The next day he went to Fulton Foods on Union Street and put a number of packets of cheese worth £16.50 in his jacket before leaving the store without making payment.

Both incidents were captured on CCTV and when Crabtree was arrested he made full admissions.

Crabtree pleaded guilty to two counts of shoplifting and was given a 28-day jail sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £16.50 compensation.

Miss Yates said the criminal behaviour order means Crabtree cannot enter any shops within a designated area of Accrington town centre.

She said: “The reason for that is the defendant has a number of previous convictions for local offences in and around the town centre.”

The court heard how Crabtree was given a 21-day jail sentence in February this year for shoplifting offences and then given a 63-day prison sentence in April for more shoplifting matters.

Richard Prew, defending, said Crabtree has an ‘appalling record’ and couldn’t resist the criminal behaviour order application.

He told the court: “Unfortunately Mr Crabtree finds himself in a revolving door situation where he is released from custody, commits further offences and then goes back to custody.

“These offences pre-date his last custodial sentence but it’s another litany of offending behaviour. He has 16 shoplifting offences already this year and the statements from shop owners show how much it’s costing them.

"Mr Crabtree has got to understand he can’t carry on with this lifestyle. He is of significant age now where going in and out of prison is not doing him any good.”

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, A Hyndburn Police spokesperson said: "There are a number of regular shoplifters who target the town centre and whose activities have a huge impact on local businesses, many of which are small and are simply trying to make an honest living.

"We are determined to keep Accrington safe for both shoppers and businesses alike and will use all the powers that are available to us to target prolific shoplifting offenders like Crabtree.

"His picture and the area within which he is banned from shops are shown (above).

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"We'd urge anyone who sees him in any shop within the exclusion zone to call 101 so that we can take action as any breach of the order is a criminal offence."