A Swindon man was caught with a knife after stealing a Ralph Lauren jacket.
Prolific offender Brian Bingham, 28, pleaded guilty to theft and possession of a blade in a public place at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on 30 December last year.
Prosecutor Kate Prince said he walked into Swindon Designer Outlet and took the Ralph Lauren El Cap jacket before leaving the store without paying on 29 December.
An off-duty police officer spotted the crook, of Stamford Close, Toothill, and detained him.
A search of Bingham’s rucksack revealed he was carrying a multi-tool that contained two blades – a folding lock knife and a Stanley-style knife.
He also admitted stealing a jacket worth more than £300 from Westgate shopping centre in Oxford on 11 December, by wearing it out of the Hugo Boss store.
Emma Handslip, defending, said her client was a prolific offender suffering from a significant drug addiction prior to his last prison term imposed in March 2021.
Since his release on post-sentence supervision – which will continue until May 2022 – Bingham is said to have started to turn his life around.
He has been working, attained a joint tenancy with a partner and the offer of more employment new year.
Ms Handslip said this offending came after he had been struggling with bills and offered shorter working hours over Christmas – leading him to use drugs once again.
She told of how Bingham had been offered money to steal items and he was stopped by police in a vehicle with a number of others.
“It would be back to square one for him if he is sent back to prison, it would do more harm than good and strop him of all the things he is trying to cling onto”, Ms Handslip added.
Hearing how Bingham is starting to get on the straight and narrow, and taking steps to move away from a life of crime, magistrates imposed an 18-month community order.
He was also ordered to complete a GPS-monitored curfew from 8pm-5am daily.
Bingham said “thank you so much” as he was released from the dock.
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