Stepson death led to theft addiction

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A man became addicted to drinking and shoplifting after the sudden death of his stepson, a court heard.

Gary Palmer (43), of Deptford Crescent, Highbury Vale, Bulwell, was one of a handful of ‘street drinkers’ who caused problems for neighbours and retailers.

He appeared at Nottingham Magistrates Court on three charges of stealing from local shops after drinking sessions.

His lawyer, Emma Wyborn, said Palmer was formerly a regular user of heroin “after coming into the drugs scene quite late in life -- about ten years ago”.

“But one addiction turned into another,” she added. “Drink and shoplifting went hand in hand and he classes both as addictions.

“He lost his 21-year-old stepson, to whom he was very close. That was the trigger for the drinking spiralling out of control.

“He had issues relating to bereavemeant counselling that caused anxiety and depression. The drink also had a negative impact on his health.”

Palmer pleaded Guilty to stealing three pairs of jeans, worth £110, from the Littlewoods Clearance store on Main Street, Bulwell on Wednesday April 3; to stealing chocolate and other confectionery items, worth £24, from the Supernews store, also on Main Street on Wednesday April 10; and to stealing a disposable barbecue and utensils, worth £16, from the Co-op store on Highbury Road, Bulwell on Saturday April 13.

The court heard that he stole the jeans for a friend who was waiting outside, and took the barbecue so that he could cook some food after a kitchen fire at his home.

“He is now free of alcohol after detox treatment while in custody,” added Mrs Wyborn.

“He is feeling disgusted, ashamed and embarrassed. He says he can’t go on like this.”

The court was told that Palmer was subject to a community order for previous shoplifting offences in Bulwell and Hucknall, including the theft of a leg of lamb.

And the chairman of the Bench, District Judge Morris Cooper, pointed out that he had “a dreadful record and had been to prison before”.

“But sending you back to prison would not achieve anything,” Mr Cooper told Palmer. “Instead I am prepared to start you afresh.

“I have read your letter to the court in which you express a great deal of remorse and wish to apologise to neighbours and the shops where you caused trouble. This is very welcome to know.

“You have also suffered all sorts of personal problems.”

A fresh community order, fully supervised, was made for one year, with the stipulations including treatment for Palmer’s alcoholism.

An application to issue Palmer with an ASBO, banning him from drinking on the streets of Bulwell, was also made.