doc

A PROLIFIC shoplifter and drug addict who kicked his way into the house of his ex-partner while his two children were upstairs and stole £10 and a £1 packet of biscuits has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard John Martin Leonard, 34, Cleveland Street, Colne, had 87 convictions for 108 offences, 64 of which were for theft. A total of 47 of those offences had been committed in the last 11 months.

Acknowledging his latest period of offending Leonard pleaded guilty to 10 counts of shoplifting, burglary and common assault.

Jailing Leonard for 23 months Judge Philip Parry said it was time the shopkeepers of Colne were given a break from him.

Prosecuting James Preece said Leonard's latest period of offending started on July 5 when he stole £50 of meat from the Co-op in Colne. One week later he stole £75 of cheese from the One Stop Shop in Colne. On July 14 he stole £55 of coffee from Tesco Express in Colne.

Mr Preece said: "In this case the defendant was noticed by staff acting suspiciously but he ran out of the shop before he could be challenged. Two members of staff pursued Mr Leonard and found him a short distance away hiding with the coffee. Once they had discovered him there was a further chase. Mr Leonard tried to climb over a wall and escaped again. Eventually the staff were able to recover the coffee."

Two days later Leonard stole £40 of coffee belonging to Farmfoods in Colne. But during that incident the court heard he was challenged by staff member Soul Smith and threatened to 'knock him out'. The court heard he kicked Mr Smith in the knee and for that he was charged with common assault.

On July 17 Leonard went to the house of his ex-partner's and demanded entry. When he was refused he said: "Let me in or I'll smash the window."

Mr Leonard then kicked the front door twice and on the second occasion it broke. His ex-partner ran upstairs and called the police. When she went back downstairs she saw Leonard in the kitchen and he left with her purse and a packet of biscuits. He later went back to the house with the purse but only returned it after taking £10.

On July 20 he stole £44 of coffee from Farmfoods, the following day he stole £31 of washing powder from Farmfoods and on July 25 he stole £40 of coffee from the same store.

Leonard stole £45 of Ambi Pur Refills from the Savers store in Colne, on August 1 he stole 10 pairs of men's jeans worth £160 from Matalan in Colne and six days later he stole £60 of meat from the Co-op in Colne.

Defending, Philip Holden said his client had been ravaged by an addiction to crack cocaine and heroin and was stealing to fund his addiction and feed himself.

Mr Holden said: "He's been living a meaningless life. He's a man who wants the help of the prison service to fight his drug addiction."

Judge Parry said: "The time has come for the shopkeepers of Lancashire, particularly Colne, to have a break from shoplifters like you."