A MAN with a history of offending stole from a convenience store chain, claiming they were a “soft target”.

Joshua Brian Parker, 30, stole meat and alcohol worth £307 from Co-ops in Wrexham, Coedpoeth and Denbigh.

Wrexham Magistrates Court heard that Parker, of Garner Road in Wrexham, stole the items to sell on for money to buy drugs, to feed himself and pay for dog food.

Sheyanne Lee, prosecuting, said Parker stole all the steaks on display from the Denbigh Co-op on July 17.

He also took eight bottles of spirits worth £152 from the Cross Lanes store on November 28 and £70 of steaks at the Co-op on Coedpoeth High Street on November 6.

Parker told police he had chosen the Co-op stores because they were “easy and had no security”, Miss Lee added.

The court heard Parker has 20 convictions for 38 offences.

At the time of the offences he was subject to two conditional discharges for incidents of criminal damage.

The probation sentence also made an application for another community order to be revoked on the grounds that it was unworkable due to Parker’s circumstances.

Parker pleaded guilty to the thefts and admitted breaching the conditional discharge breaches at a previous hearing.  

Stephen Edwards, defending, said Parker – who is profoundly deaf – felt disadvantaged because of his disability.

Parker’s sign language interpreter had told Mr Edwards it was nigh on impossible for him to follow group activities due to people speaking at the same time and at different volumes.

He had also attended two meetings regarding a methadone prescription, but could not be helped as there was no signer.

Magistrates heard Parker intended to go to detoxification and rehabilitation.

Parker had been extremely honest about the thefts, saying they were an easy target and did not have much security, the court heard.

Mr Edwards told of a young man who led a “solitary and fairly lonely lifestyle”, whose best friend was his dog and who was fairly easy to take advantage of.

The solicitor said that, while it was not an excuse, he would not be surprised if the thefts had been “offences to order”.

Mr Edwards said no one should be disadvantaged due to disability.

But he also sympathised with the probation service, who were trying as best they could to manage the situation in troubled difficult times.

He suggested a suspended sentence, with no requirement at this stage, so Parker would know that if he stole again he would go to prison.

Mr Edwards suggested the court ask the probation service ensures Parker gets a prescription as soon as possible.

He was a young man with difficulties, Mr Edwards said, but added: “Everyone is trying to help him, but there comes a stage where he has to help himself.”

Magistrates sentenced Parker to 16 weeks [concurrent] for each theft, suspended.

The conditional discharges were resentenced with no separate penalty, and the community order was revoked.

Parker must pay compensation to the stores, £85 in prosecution costs and a £115 surcharge.

Carol Lloyd, chairman of the bench, said while they had sympathy for Parker’s circumstances, they could not be regarded as a reason not to punish him for his offences.