Prolific Cumbrian thief warned to mend his ways after 109th crime


A prolific thief who first broke the law aged 11 has been given a harsh warning after committing his 109th crime.

Colin Orr, 46, appeared at Carlisle Crown Court before a judge who noted the criminal had more than three decades of illegal activity behind him.

Orr was sentenced for stealing meat from Whitehaven's Aldi store. That offence put him in breach of a suspended prison sentence he received early last year for shoplifting and going equipped for theft.

And the judge, Tony Lancaster, told him: "At 46 you really ought to be changing your ways after such a significant life of offending."

Kim Whittlestone, prosecuting, described Orr as a "prolific shop offender" as she outlined the facts of his latest indiscretion.

This took place at about 10.45am on November 26 in Aldi.

"He was seen by members of security staff. He picked up a store basket and made his way around the meat aisle to behave suspiciously, hiding around various shop displays," said Miss Whittlestone.

Orr stole £44 worth of meat, the theft being captured on store CCTV footage.

His previous crime, said Miss Whittlestone, involved the removal of security tags from bottles of alcohol prior to another theft. For that he was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, along with rehabilitation requirements.

Miss Whittlestone said Orr's criminal record comprised "24 pages" with the first conviction logged in April, 1981.

Since then he had received a range of court punishments, including imprisonment.

However, Brendan Burke, defending, told the court Orr had shown recent better behaviour lately which had impressed a judge monitoring his behaviour.

Mr Burke said of the Aldi theft: "The reason for this lapse - I can call it a lapse given the history of progress - is that he spent all his benefit money, I am afraid, at a bookmaker's."

As a result he fell behind with domestic payments and feared losing his home. This, said Mr Burke, would have brought Orr "right back to square one" - "as would a prison sentence".

But having heard of the defendant's "genuinely positive progress", Judge Lancaster opted not to activate the jail term.

Instead Orr, of Richmond Terrace, Whitehaven, was given a three-month night-time curfew and extra rehabilitation sessions.

Urging Orr to mend his ways, the judge warned: "Otherwise it is going to be a depressing, never-ending cycle of being in and out of prison with no roots, no accommodation, no base."

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