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‘Prolific’ shoplifter from Downham Market narrowly avoids prison after stealing more than £700 worth of products from King’s Lynn shops

A “prolific” shoplifter has narrowly avoided being sent back to prison after stealing more than £700 worth of gift sets from a series of town shops.

Scott Manning, 35, of Wellington House in Downham, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to be sentenced for a series of thefts he committed last month.

Previously, he pleaded guilty to three charges of theft, the first of which took place on October 25. On that date, he stole gift sets, Tesco Finest ready meals and a pack of 24 cans of Coca Cola from Tesco in Newmarket. These totalled to a value between £400-£500.

Manning appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Manning appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Then, on November 9, Manning entered Boots in Lynn and stole razor blades and Christmas gift sets valued at £311.81.

The following day, Manning went into One Beyond in Lynn and stole sweets and a bottle of J20, valuing at £3.50.

Crown prosecutor Lesla Small explained that Manning has been in and out of prison for similar thefts and was released from custody in April – these were the first offences he committed since that date.

In mitigation, George Sorrell urged magistrates not to send Manning to prison again, despite him being in breach of his post-sentence supervision requirements.

Mr Sorrell said: “Might I persuade you to be merciful with this man, who steals in a prolific sort of way.

“Since being released from prison, he lasted until October until he got involved again in offending.

“This year, he has been struggling with depression – he has found it difficult to communicate with people.”

Mr Sorrell explained that Manning is now living with his father in Downham and is not mixing with the “wrong sort of people” he used to when living in Lynn.

The solicitor added that Manning has a chance of getting a job in the near future.

Manning, addressing the magistrates himself, added: “This is the best I’ve ever done, six months without offending. I was doing brilliant up until then.

“Of course this is my fault but I have been told how well I have done.”

Magistrates opted to hand Manning 20 weeks in custody, but suspended the sentence for 24 months.

“Let’s see how committed you really are,” the chair magistrate said.

“There aren’t any excuses – if you breach it, we will activate that sentence.”

Manning was ordered to pay a total of £715.31 in compensation to the shops he stole from.

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