Prolific Middlesbrough shoplifter dubbed 'one-man crimewave' threatened to stab B&M worker

Darren Taylor threatened to stab one shop worker
-Credit: (Image: Cleveland Police)

A prolific shoplifter described as a "one-man crimewave" threatened to a stab a man when he was caught stealing.

Middlesbrough's Darren Taylor raided shops across Teesside between March and May of this year targeting some stores he was already banned from. Teesside Crown Court heard he would simply walk out of the stores with items and would become aggressive if he was challenged.

Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt told the court: "He's barred from some shops understandably as he's a prolific thief. One of those shops is Asda which he stole from over the course of these weeks. His method seems to be he approaches sellable items and simply picks them up and leaves in the hope nobody will challenge him. If he is challenged he will threaten workers to make his escape."

During one incident on April 9, he targeted B&M in Middlesbrough attempting to steal washing pods. Mr Soppitt said when he was challenged by a male worker he pushed him twice in the chest before threatening to stab him. In another incident, on April 23, he stole £19.95-worth of cheese from Heron Foods. Others stores he targeted included Asda, Tesco and One Stop.

The defendant has 67 previous offences of dishonesty and pleaded guilty to the following:

  • Shop theft x 17

  • Using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour x 4

  • Common assault

  • Burglary

  • Possession of cannabis

In mitigation, the court heard the 34-year-old has a "complicated, concerning and tragic background" and accepts he needs help with his mental health and drug rehabilitation.

Addressing the defendant, Recorder Nicholas Worsley KC said: "You were a one man crime wave rampaging through these retail establishments and stealing many times in the same day, whatever you could get your hands on in exchange for money, drink or drugs.

"You are someone who has had a very troubled background and you have my sympathies but this is flagrant and repeated offending and I'm afraid the time has come where there has to be a serious custodial sentence."

The Charlbury Road defendant was sentenced to 67 weeks in prison.

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