Bereaved dad went on shoplifting spree at Shirebrook sports retailer to get Christmas presents for children

A bereaved father-of-two went on a shoplifting spree at a Derbyshire sports outlet to acquire Christmas presents for his children and grandchild, a court heard.

By Andy. Done-Johnson
Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:36 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:55 am

Neil Caudwell stole more than £400 in clothing from the Sports World outlet in Shirebrook - located on the main Sports Direct site - on December 22, Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court was told on Wednesday, January 15.

The 57-year-old, of Rowan Croft, Huthwaite, had gone to the outlet with a friend, and stole the items “on an impulse”, the court heard.

Prosecuting, Becky Allsop said: “The manager was made aware that a suspected shoplifter may have just left the store. He had two bags with him and some receipts, which he said he had found in the bags.

“Staff asked him, ‘What are you robbing for? Is it for Christmas?’, and the defendant said ‘yes’.

“They went back into the store and discovered that the metal tags had been torn from the clothing. He had gone into the store with a family friend to browse but took the items and placed them in his bags.”

In total, the amount of clothes recovered from Caudwell was valued at £440.91 and he admitted shoplifting when he appeared before the court.

Mitigating, Nick Wright said that Caudwell had only started offending when he had woken up one morning and found his wife dead in bed.

He said: “He was stealing for Christmas due to financial pressures - there’s a lot of pressure to buy presents for children, and that’s what he was doing.

“His wife died in her sleep in 2015 - he has woken up one morning and his wife hasn’t - and that has contributed to his offending. He has a 19-year-old daughter who has a two-month-old baby, and a 14-year-old son who has had behavioural problems at school. He wanted to get him something for Christmas to keep him on the straight and narrow.”

Caudwell was given a 12-month community order to include 10 rehabilitation activity days to include a thinking skills programme, and 90 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £85 in prosecution costs and a £90 victim surcharge.