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Lincoln shoplifter with 48 previous offences given final chance to go straight

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 26, 2012

Lincoln Crown Court

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A man who gave a false name when he was detained for shoplifting was given a chance to go straight when he appeared before Lincoln Crown Court.

Matthew Lugsden was serving a suspended prison sentence when he walked into the Tesco Express store in Lincoln's High Street and left without paying for a sandwich and a croissant.

Sarah Lloyd, prosecuting, said staff detained Lugsden and police were called.

Lugsden gave officers a false name but his true identity was revealed during a fingerprint check.

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Lugsden, 39, of Barkers Court, Melville Street, Lincoln, admitted theft and obstructing a police officer on September 5.

He also admitted breach of a suspended jail sentence imposed in July for offences of theft and making off without payment.

The court was told that he had convictions for 48 previous offences.

Sam Skinner, defending, said Lugsden has sought help for his drink problem since his arrest and has been turning his life around.

"He has reduced his drinking significantly. That has been no mean feat. He has genuinely turned the corner."

Mr Skinner said Lugsden has recently moved into a new rented home and has started paying off his outstanding fines.

Judge Sean Morris deferred sentence for six months to give Lugsden the opportunity to maintain his progress.

The judge told Lugsden: "If you commit one further offence before the deferment period ends then I will lock you up. It is in your hands."

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  • Roadscource  |  November 29 2012, 12:13PM

    Can any one of the 7 who have down rated my comment care to explain why? Im sick and tired of reading stories where the culprit claims the crimes were all a result of not being able to control their drinking. ID cards required i think, no ID card proving alcohol does not turn you into a Class 1 plonker, then no booze served from shops or pubs.

    |   -6
  • hurculese  |  November 29 2012, 8:28AM

    48 offences whats wrong with these judges if he was in the states the judge would have thrown the KEY away our judges are to soft

  • Roadscource  |  November 28 2012, 4:41PM

    "Sam Skinner, defending, said Lugsden has sought help for his drink problem since his arrest and has been turning his life around." Ah its the drink again, well no wonder hes broken the law. I do wonder what people employed by the Courts of this Country would be doing for a living had alcohol never been invented.

    |   -8
  • eatmygoal  |  November 27 2012, 10:06AM

    Interesting Gnome. We percieve the theft of items, which he could take for free from the bins in the evening as most squatters here in London do, as being worse than adding a few extra items we don't own onto insurance or being mischarged for items at the store and not owning up. I am not saying any of it is right, just that some crimes are more acceptable than others. That is before we look at downloading films and tv series illegally. Take a CD from HMV, shame on you! Download the album illegally, good on you for playing the system.

    |   -1
  • Ian_Heighton  |  November 27 2012, 9:06AM

    A theft of necessity is one thing but it's the lying to the Police, AKA perverting the course of Justice that should have won him an immediate 6 Months

    |   4
  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  November 26 2012, 9:11PM

    Had anybody else noticed that Mr Lugsden has not been spared punishment? He will still be sentenced, either in six months or sooner. I support the pragmatic approach of Judge Morris. I would not want to see a genuinely reformed ex-offender sent to prison for a trivial theft from a major retailer. A sandwich and a croissant? Cost to Tesco? Maybe £2, a miniscule fraction of the cost of detaining Mr Lugsden for a day. What is the value of the food Tesco throw away every day? If Mr Lugsden can maintain his turnaround for six months, half a year in old money, he will receive a proportionate sentence. If he doesn't, he goes down without a doubt. I fear for the future of this country, and my tax contribution, if we start jailing everybody for scamming £2-3 by shoplifting, fiddling expenses, parking illegally, pinching a few pens from work, or missing a week before renewing their TV licence or car insurnce. I also fear a justice system that loses a man his home and prevents him paying off his existing fines, pushing him back towards alcoholism and petty crime.

    |   -6
  • matttye  |  November 26 2012, 8:36PM

    People are so judgemental and it really baffles me how people have such little understanding of things. May I direct everyone to this part of the article: "Sam Skinner, defending, said Lugsden has sought help for his drink problem since his arrest and has been turning his life around." If this person was stealing to fund his drink problem (which many do, especially homeless people), then seeking help for his drink problem may help him not to reoffend. This specific theft was of food; what would everybody else do if they couldn't afford to eat? Just curl up in a ball and die?

  • VictorToo  |  November 26 2012, 2:33PM

    I thought the government promised to take persistent offenders off the streets to protect the general public ?

    |   2
  • EASTLEIGH33  |  November 26 2012, 1:30PM

    48 offences? Would be comfortable with a FINAL warning after 3.......no excuse for this.

    |   9
  • Lincoln_Fan  |  November 26 2012, 1:23PM

    Dixie 9 - And they want to CLOSE Lincoln prison. Defies belief!

    |   6