Burnley serial thief given another chance
6:25pm Sunday 2nd September 2012 in News
A SERIAL thief who is estimated to have cost the state at least £70,000 has been given a second chance by Burnley magistrates.
An anti-social behaviour order was in force on Paul Ashworth, 34, banning him from Burnley town centre, the court was told.
But he was still caught out trying to steal £139 worth of goods from Boots last month, according to prosecutors.
And when CCTV was reviewed of a further shoplifiting offence at the Marks and Spencer store, Ashworth could be identified stealing wine along with an accomplice.
Defence solicitor Adnan Hanif said each time his client appeared before the courts, usually for theft, he cost around £1,000 at time, in legal fees alone.
Ashworth had on occasion also been given short prison sentences for his offending, costing the taxpayer even more, he told the court.
“If this is magnified across his 70 convictions then the cost to the taxpayer is phenomenal.
“This is money the state does not have,” said Mr Hanif.
Ashworth, of Sycamore Close, Burnley had admitted two theft charges and breach of a two-year ASBO, imposed in March 2011.
Mr Hanif urged magistrates to impose a drug rehabilitation and reoffending order on Ashworth, who has had substance misuse problems for some time.
Magistrates agreed and as well as the order gave him a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
He will also be under the supervision of the probation service for nine months and must pay £85 court costs with £6.49 compensation to M&S.