A PROLIFIC offender has been handed a jail sentence for causing thousands of pounds in damages to a convenience shop in Wrexham.

John Anthony Haden, 25, of Church View in Chirk appeared before a judge at Mold Crown Court admitting to causing an estimated £15,000 in damages to the Co-op store on Holyhead Road in Chirk.

Haden was charged with criminal damage as well as being found on enclosed premises for unlawful purposes.

The prosecution, Sion ap Mihangel, told the court that Haden had been banned from the shop previously as he was known by staff to be a prolific shoplifter, having dealt with him on numerous occasions over the last few years.

On May 27, store manager Scott Evans went out to the enclosed area behind the shop to find a hooded man standing by the unit which powers the shop’s refrigerator systems.

Mr Evans closed the door and immediately called the police, during which time he heard “crashing and banging” according to the prosecutor before hearing the noise that sounded like one of the gas canisters connected to the cooling system being released.

The manager inspected the damage to the yard upon the arrival of the police – where it was found that the copper piping had been stripped from the gas canister and damaged externally as well.

Mr ap Mihangel told the court how Haden was found nearby and arrested.

He tells the judge that the estimated damage done in the rear yard of the shop amounts to around £5,300 – but his does not take into account the costs of stock that perished in the shop fridges that stopped working as a result of the damage to the cooling unit – which is estimated to reach around £10,000 according to the prosecution.

On June 6, a team leader at the same store was informed that cigarette buts were present outside the shop and near to the fridge/freezer unit and upon checking CCTV staff found that Haden, whilst on bail for the criminal damage offence, had returned to the store in the early hours and dumping the contents of a cigarette box around the area.

For breaching conditions of bail, he was arrested later that day and bail revoked.

At the age of 25, Haden has amassed 57 convictions for 132 offences – the vast majority of which are for “acquisitive crimes” according to the prosecutor.

The defence, Andrew Green, said it was sad to see someone of Haden’s age with such a lengthy sheet of offending and says his life had been ‘chaotic’ due to drug use – a ‘hopeless addiction’ which is funded through shoplifting goods.

He added that Haden’s grandfather had died just weeks before the offence and triggered a ‘spiral’ in his mental health and drug use.

He argued that his client had ‘the good sense’ to admit to offences before the magistrates and asked that he was given the maximum credit when reducing his sentence.

Passing his sentence of six months in custody, Judge Timothy Petts said that Haden’s “long and sorry history” of petty crimes must be taken into account for the offences.

He says that the fact he was targeting premises he had been banned from entering in what seemed a “revenge attack” was also something to consider.

He said that the custody threshold had been passed and believed there was “no realistic route” for Haden to become rehabilitated in the community and thought immediate custody was the only suitable option.