Shoplifter in dangerous driving escape after stealing perfume from Stratford store - The Stratford Observer
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12th Aug, 2022

Shoplifter in dangerous driving escape after stealing perfume from Stratford store

A PEDESTRIAN on a crossing in the middle of Stratford town centre had to jump out of the way when a shoplifter ignored the red light as he made off in a Transit van.

Joe Sykes then went through another red light and forced his way between cars ahead of him and oncoming traffic as he made his get-away before eventually being stopped by the police.

Sykes, a scrap metal dealer of Nutts Lane, Hinckley, pleaded guilty to charges of theft from Debenhams in Stratford and dangerous driving through the town.

The 45-year-old was given a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity, and was banned from driving for a year.

Prosecutor Rebecca Wade said in November Sykes parked his Transit van in High Street and went into the Debenhams. He walked straight to the perfume aisle where he put three bottles of Paco Rabanne perfume worth £199 into a bag and walked out.

A Debenhams security officer who was monitoring the store’s CCTV system saw Sykes sprinting across the road, so quickly checked back on other cameras – and saw the shoplifting taking place.

The security officer rushed outside and confronted Sykes, but he drove off with the van door open, turning into Wood Street where he went through a red light at a pedestrian crossing, forcing a pedestrian to jump out of the way.

He went through another red light at the junction with Rother Street and continued along Greenhill Street before turning into Arden Street, forcing his way between traffic ahead of him and bollards at the junction.

Sykes continued along the middle of the road, overtaking cars in the face of oncoming traffic.

He continued out of the town to the A46 and headed towards Coventry before finally being stopped by the police and arrested.

The stolen perfume was recovered from the van, but when he was interviewed Sykes, who had previous convictions for theft, possessing drugs and driving offences, gave ‘no comment’ replies.

Andrew Wilkins, defending, asked the judge not to disqualify Sykes for longer than the 12 months minimum, adding Sykes hoped to keep his scrap metal business running.

Sentencing Sykes, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You know as well as I do that you need to put the drugs behind you.

“I’m not going to make you do unpaid work. You work hard, and you need to keep your business going, but you must attend probation whenever they tell you to.”

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