Prolific shoplifter who committed 175 offences jailed for 15 months

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A prolific shoplifter has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to the theft of more than £800 of items – his latest in a string of over 175 offences.

Howard Lawrence, 56, of Wolverton Road, Leicester, appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on 17th February after being arrested for a theft from the River Island store in Mansfield’s Four Seasons Shopping Centre on Sunday 15th February.

Following his arrest, officers from the Mansfield Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team carried out CCTV enquiries with the help of affected stores, security staff and Mansfield District Council.

Officers also discovered Lawrence’s car nearby containing more stolen goods, despite him refusing to tell officers the location of the vehicle.

Lawrence was sentenced to 60 weeks in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of shoplifting from River Island, JD Sports and Holland & Barrett’s.

He was also disqualified from driving after he pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Sergeant Colin Kirkup, from Nottinghamshire Police said: “Howard Lawrence has a horrendous history of offending, amounting to almost 80 convictions taking in 175 offences nationwide over the past 40 years.”

“On this occasion, he picked the wrong town and thanks to the fast actions of affected businesses and agencies in Mansfield town centre, he has found himself facing prison for a substantial amount of time.”

Lawrence was arrested alongside his partner Tammy Mclean, 20, of the same address, who has been charged with three counts of shoplifting.

She has been released on bail to appear at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court at a later date.