Jail for serial shoplifter

But James Trower will be released from prison in days, because he has already served his time.

A brazen shoplifter has been jailed after walking out of shops carrying a car battery and a wide screen television.

James Trower loaded the heavy battery into his rucksack in full view of staff at a motor accessories store and walked straight past a CCTV camera at a Coop shop with the �300 television under his arm.

The serial shoplifter even tried to talk his way out of it when police recognised him from the security camera footage and told officers: ”You can’t even see my face”.

Trower has a history of more than 40 offences, mostly for shoplifting, and was well known by both the police and shopkeepers in his home town of Honiton, Devon.

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Trower, aged 32, of Marwood Place, Honiton, admitted three thefts and one handling and was jailed for 28 weeks by Judge Phillip Wassall at Exeter Crown Court.

He had earlier been jailed for 36 weeks by magistrates at Exeter but this was reduced on appeal by the judge on a technicality.

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Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said Trower had committed a series of offences, starting with handling of three stolen laptops found at his home and moving on to shoplifting of whisky, the battery and the television.

She said: ”The final shoplifting took place at the Co-op in Honiton where he was seen by a member of staff walking in, picking up a large flat screen Panasonic television, and walking out with it.

“He was found by police nearby ten minutes later without the television by police who identified him quite clearly from the CCTV footage in the store.

“He denied the offence, even when he was shown the footage and replied to officers ‘you can’t even see my face’.”

Miss Pitts said he has made 22 previous court appearances, all but one for thefts, and the total number of offences amount to 40.

Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said Trower is a heroin addict who has overcome his habit while in prison and has been given an ultimatum by his partner that he must choose between drugs or her and his four children.

He said the sentence passed by the magistrates was too harsh because it comprised consecutive sentences for each of the different offences.

Judge Wassall: “We take the view that 28 weeks is not too long in totality for what he did.”

The sentence will result in Trower being released within days because he has been in prison since his original hearing in October.

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