62-year-old thief caught with shoplifting gang in Mansfield

A 62-year-old thief who has committed 121 thefts over the last 45 years was part of a shopifting gang caught in Mansfield.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:26 pm

The alarm was raised at Sports Direct at 1.40pm, on May 9, before staff watched Howard Lawrence and two co-defendants flee in a red Mercedes, said prosecutor Stacy Mills.

Police later discovered the car in a Nottingham Road car park and officers waited until the occupants returned.

They found £250 of clothing stolen from Next and £130 from TK Maxx.

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Mansfield Magistrates' Court.

Lawrence was carrying a wire-cutting tool and a black bag containing two metal tags.

The court was told he has 96 previous convictions for 223 offences, 121 of which are for thefts committed between 1975 and 2020.

He also has five previous convictions for going equipped for theft and was last in court in September last year when he received three weeks in prison for shoplifting.

Colleen Web, mitigating, said Lawrence had only recently received help for his mental health issues.

“It's a vicious circle,” she said. “He just goes to prison and comes back out and there's no help for him. Now he seems to be getting on track.

“He has spent two and half weeks in custody on remand for these matters. Probation officers recommended a community order with rehabilitation days, on May 11.”

Lawrence, currently of HMP Nottingham, admitted going equipped and possession of criminal property when he appeared before Mansfield Magistrates Court on May 19.

On Wednesday, magistrates jailed him for a total of 18 weeks.

He will spend half the time in custody and half in the community. Lawrence was ordered to pay a £128 surcharge.

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