A PROLIFIC criminal who has been before the courts more than 50 times for 147 offences has been given another chance by a judge – who feared sending him to prison would hamper his rehabilitation.

Kristopher Murphy, 31, appeared before Burnley Crown Court charged with 15 offences, nine for shoplifting at Boots and Peacocks in Accrington in January.

The other six charges related to burglaries between July and October last year at shops in Accrington including The Beauty Emporium, Boutique 23, Cafe 33, Jeff Ellis chip shop, and Coffee Beanz, where he took cash and caused damage.

Prosecuting, David Clarke said his spree had caused upheaval to his victims and in one case the closure of a businesses.

Defending, Marianne Alton said: “The defendant, who was released from prison in April on licence, has continued to make good progress with his rehabilitation, managing to secure himself accommodation, volunteer work, and has regularly been engaging with drug support service, Inspire. His probation officer says he has made many changes and now has the support of his family.”

Sentencing Murphy, of Emma Street, Accrington, Judge Ahmed Nadim said his past record did him no credit.

He said: “You are a prolific offender who has been dealt with in a variety of ways to punish you and encourage you into leading a lifestyle that is socially responsible.

“A lot of these measures failed. Happily though you appear to have had a change in your attitude and since your release you have impressed all those that have dealt with you.

“You have been a nuisance and a scourge for the local businesses and the impact of your behaviour can only be speculated on.

“The easy thing for this court to do would be to pass a custodial sentence but that would be short term and you would soon return to your old ways which would not be in your interests or the interests of the community.”

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Judge Nadim deferred Murphy’s sentence until January 20 under the conditions that he continued to engage with Inspire, remained free from drugs, made himself available for drug testing, and continued to co-operate with the probation service.