Sneak Kingsteignton thief jailed

By Crown Court Reporter in Crime

A sneak thief who stole from a 90-year-old woman’s Newton Abbot home has been jailed after he blew three separate chances to stay out of prison.


Robert Shelton, of Ley Lane, Kingsteignton, received a suspended sentence last year after the victim wrote to the judge asking for mercy and suggesting he would be better off finding a job than going inside.


He was ordered to do community payback and go on a probation-run ’thinking skills’ course but within weeks he was caught shoplifting on his way back from doing his unpaid work.


He was given extra hours of unpaid work but carried on missing appointments and was brought back to Exeter Crown Court. He was given yet another final chance and a two month curfew was added to his sentence.


He broke the curfew when he was thrown out of his rented house after a row with his landlord. He went on to miss more appointments with probation, who were still sending letters to his old address.


Shelton, aged 21, admitted breach of a curfew and a community work order and was jailed for 21 days by Judge Erik Salomonsen.


He told him:"You are not an unintelligent young man but it is clear you have not applied your mind to complying with the court orders. You have run out of road."


The judge reduced the original four month sentence because Shelton had completed 85 of 120 hours unpaid work and six weeks of his two month curfew.


Mr Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said the first breach of the suspended sentence happened when Shelton stole a £45  bottle of Britney Spears perfume from Boots at Green Hill Retail Park, Newton Abbot on his way home from a community work session in South Devon on December 30.


There were further breaches of orders through missed appointments and a breach of curfew in May.


Mr Kevin Hopper, defending, said Shelton contacted the probation service after his eviction to alert them to the breach of curfew and is keen to finish his unpaid work.


In the original case Shelton received a four month suspended sentence and 120 hours unpaid work.


He was branded as wicked and mean by the judge but spared jail after his kind hearted victim sent a letter asking for mercy and suggesting he should he taught a trade rather than locked up.


He talked his way into her home in Newton Abbot by asking for a glass of water and stole from her purse as she was fetching it. He was caught when he went back the next day to try the same trick.

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