Brazen Newcastle thief with 196 convictions told shop staff 'there's nothing you can do to stop me'

Steven Lee, jailed for shop thefts
-Credit: (Image: Northumbria Police)

A serial shop thief who threatened shop staff and boasted "there's nothing you can do to stop me" during his latest spree of offences has been jailed.

Steven Lee already had nearly 200 convictions on his "horrendous" record, more than half of them for theft, when he targeted a series of shops in brazen offences. Now the 40-year-old, of Eastfield House, Newcastle, has been locked up at Newcastle Crown Court.

Lee and an accomplice stole coats worth £736 from New Look on February 22, brazenly removing them from clothes rails before leaving. Having been arrested for that he was bailed and went on to commit a series of further shop thefts.

On March 10, he stole items worth £434 of confectionery from Poundland and on April 16 he helped himself to £120 of items from Lidl.

Then on April 18 he went to Heron Foods in Walker, Newcastle and while stealing butter worth £30, as three others also stole items, he taunted staff when challenged, saying "what do you think you're doing' before telling the worker to go outside and threatening to "chin" them. He admitted a public order offence in relation to that.

A day later he stole sweets from a One Stop shop in Wallsend and the next day stole £531 of items from the Co-op, bragging to staff: "There's nothing you can do to stop me." He or his accomplice kicked a door, causing glass to crack.

On April 21 he was back at the One Stop and stole two boxes of chocolates then on April 24 he went back again, telling staff to "f*** off", calling them abusive names and stealing items worth £500.

Katie Spence, prosecuting, said staff had become "fed up" by the behaviour of Lee and his friend and "seem to have accepted what was going to happen when the men entered the shop".

Lee, who has 196 previous convictions, including 122 for theft and the like, pleaded guilty to shop thefts and the public order offence and was jailed for 58 weeks.

Recorder Richard Herrmann told him: "Your record is nothing short of horrendous." The court heard there will be an application for a criminal behaviour order to ban him from certain shops at a later hearing.

Kate Barnes, defending, said Lee hopes to embark on rehabilitation to deal with his drug problem. She added: "He was in the grip of a crack cocaine addiction. He is now clean from drugs and on methadone.

"He know he is a constant disappointment to his children. This is an incentivising factors."