The 'one-man crime wave' who targeted Warrington retailers on shoplifting spree

A prolific shoplifter from Warrington has been jailed for six and half months following a crime spree across the town.

Paul Morris appeared at Chester Magistrates' Court on Monday 17 June where he was sentenced to six and a half months imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to 36 counts of theft from a shop.

The 36-year-old, of Rossall Road, Great Sankey, was also issued with a five-year criminal behaviour order and a £1,000 fine.

The court heard that Morris regularly targeted the Cooperative stores on Knutsford Road, Kingsway South and Holes Lane in a total of 28 incidents, but he also stole from six other retailers across the town.

Between Thursday 25 January and Friday 14 June, he stole a combined total of £3,739.75 worth of goods from the stores.

Morris was identified as the main suspect in these incidents after Warrington officers compiled a collection of CCTV footage that showed him entering the aforementioned stores, picking up a number of items and leaving without attempting to pay for them.

His crime spree came to an end on Friday 14 June, when he attempted to steal a trolley of meat products from the Lidl store on Old Liverpool Road, Warrington, and was stopped by staff. Officers swiftly attended the scene and promptly arrested Morris, who had become aggressive toward shop staff.

Following his arrest, Morris refused to leave his cell in order to be interviewed by officers and defend his actions, but despite this, he would later be charged with 36 counts of theft from a shop.

Faced with the amount of evidence against him, Morris, who was also wanted on three separate instances of failing to attend court over the course of his offending, had no choice but to plead guilty and he was sentenced to six and a half months in prison when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Monday 17 June.

Along with his prison sentence, Morris was also issued with £1000 fine and a five-year criminal behaviour order that will activate immediately upon his release.

Following the sentencing Police Constable Andy Rowley, who oversaw the investigation, said: "Paul Morris is a habitual and prolific shoplifter who caused no end of misery to the retailers of Warrington during his nearly five-month crime spree.

"During that period between January and June, Morris accumulated over £3,700 worth of stolen goods through the deliberate targeting of nine stores across Warrington and CCTV footage gathered by our officers clearly identified him as the main suspect in all 36 instances.

"Upon his release from prison, Morris will be the subject to a five-year criminal behaviour order, designed to deter any further offending. Should he fail to comply with the conditions of his order, he could face a considerable fine or even a recall to prison.

"I hope that this result provides reassurance to both Warrington residents and retailers alike that we are continually doing all we can to crack down on those who insist on committing crime and causing disruption within our communities.”

Chief Inspector Neil Drum added: “The work of the Central Team in securing this sentence is excellent, and the CBO in place gives even further opportunity to take action. This result is testament to the great work in of our officers and their commitment to get these results and get justice for retailers.”

Anyone who has any concerns regarding shoplifting in their area is urged to contact Cheshire Police via cheshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/soh/seen-or-heard/ or call 101, to report it.

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