A man stole from two city centre stores because he had been released from custody and found himself with no money, a court heard.

John Hayden, of no fixed abode, was produced in custody at Wrexham Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.

The 29-year-old admitted that on Monday this week, in Wrexham, he stole items from Clintons Cards and Boots - and that he breached the terms of a community protection notice.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson told the court that at around 2pm, Hayden entered Boots at Eagles Meadow.

Staff were aware of him and observed him browsing. When suspected of having stolen items, he denied it - claiming he had nothing concealed in his jacket.

But £30 worth of makeup was later recovered, as well as cards stolen from the nearby Clintons store.

When arrested and interviewed, Hayden said he "panicked" when he was confronted by staff and that he was going to sell the stolen items as he was struggling for money.

The offences also put Hayden in breach of a suspended sentence.

Emma Simoes, defending, told the court the offences had been committed after Hayden was released from custody and had no money.

She explained probation managers had made the decision to recall her client to custody for a period of seven days, which she felt had "set him back" - and that he'd been released on a Friday, meaning he had no access to services until the following week.

"He had no money," she explained, "and unfortunately he is addicted to heroin.

"It's not an excuse, but we have to be realistic about things.

"It really wasn't a good idea to recall him because that has just set him back and had put him in a very difficult position."

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District Judge Gwyn Jones told the defendant: "Ms Simoes always tries to find something positive to say about you, and you don't always help her in that job.

"At the beginning of this month, I gave you a chance (by imposing the suspended sentence.)

"I take on board the points that you were recalled and you were back to square one, without money and support.

"My initial thought should be activating the custodial term, but you're a work in progress."

The Judge extended the operational period of the existing suspended sentence to 18 months, rather than activating it.


Hayden as fined £50 for each theft, with no separate penalty for breaching his community protection notice.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £20 and £85 costs.

The District Judge warned Hayden that should he find himself back before the court in the near future, the options would be limited - as Ms Simoes is "very much at the end of the barrel" in terms of mitigating his offences.