He was released from jail 14 months early then went on a crime spree

Police custody photograph of Joshua Bassett
-Credit: (Image: South Wales Police)

A prolific offender who was released early from prison due to overcrowding went on a campaign offending which saw him committing 23 burglaries and thefts from shops. Joshua Bassett served a little over four months of an 18-month sentence for burgling a hotel before being released and going a crime spree.

Sending the 26-year-old defendant back to prison a judge said it was clear he still poses a risk to the community. Bassett was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Swansea Crown Court heard that between February and May this year Bassett carried out a spate of shoplifting offences at shops in Swansea city centre, Cockett, and Killay targeting Co-op, CK, Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Aldi stores and stealing almost £700 worth of meats, chocolate, jars of coffee, and detergents and cleaning products. Francesca Parry, prosecuting, said during one of the thefts – at an Aldi store on April 24 – the defendant aggressively confronted a shop security guard and threatened to stab him.

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During the spree Bassett also burgled the CK shop in Cockett three times in a week stealing thousands of pounds worth of alcohol and tobacco and also broke into Kaspa's dessert and cake shop in the city centre and the Tesco Express shop near Swansea Central police station. The court heard he also burgled the Boutique Student Living building in St Helen's Road and stole two bicycles and a motorbike from the cycle storage area. The court heard the motorbike was used by one of the students to allow him to work part-time as a food delivery driver while one of the cycles was used by its owners to ride to his work placement at hospital. In total Bassett stole goods to the value of more than £6,000 during the burglaries.

The prosecutor said the defendant was arrested and interviewed and admitted his offending. He told officers he was addicted to heroin and alcohol and had been given no help with those issues when released from prison and he said also said he owed £4,500 to London drug dealers. Read about a shoplifter who carried out more than two dozen raids in tree months during a "sustained and brazen campaign" of thefts.

Joshua Bassett, of Rosehill Terrace, Mount Pleasant, Swansea had previously pleaded guilty to 23 counts of theft and non-dwelling burglary when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has 11 previous convictions for 27 offences some 21 of which are for theft and kindred matters. The court heard that in November 2023 the defendant was sentenced to 18 months in prison for a non-dwelling burglary in an incident which saw him breaking into the Village Hotel in Swansea's SA1. He was on licence for this offence when he committed the spree.

Megan Williams, for Bassett, said it was her understanding that the defendant had been released from prison early "due to pressures in the prison estate" and that after his arrest was recalled back to prison to serve another four months of the original sentence. She said when he was released from custody the defendant had not received help which he feels he needs to address his alcohol issues. The advocate added that Bassett does not wish to return to the cycle of offending and custody and has taken steps to distance himself from "certain individuals" in the community.

Recorder Bruce Gardiner said it was clear that the defendant continues to pose a risk to the public. With the required one-third discount for his guilty pleas Bassett was sentenced to 10 months in prison and was ordered to pay £150 towards prosecution costs. As the defendant left the hearing he said he could not afford to pay the required amount.

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