A TRAVELLING thief has had his burger van plans put on hold after a Judge banned him from driving.

James Moffitt, of Allerford Road in Liverpool, appeared in the dock at Mold Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon.

The 36-year-old admitted three counts of theft from a shop, all of which took place at Tesco on Broughton Shopping Park.

Prosecutor Rhian Jackson told the court that the first offence took place on November 2, when Moffitt was seen walking out of the store with a trolley full of items.

The goods were the equivalent of a £250 to £300 weekly shop.

The offence was repeated on December 23, when he took between £400 and £450 worth of goods including bottles of prosecco, vodka, whiskey, toys and food.

When Moffitt returned the next day, Christmas Eve, and tried it again, he was stopped and £392 worth of items were recovered.

Ms Jackson reminded the court of its discretionary power to ban the defendant from driving given he'd travelled from his local area to commit the offences.

Moffitt had 26 previous convictions for 38 offences - 15 of which were for theft and related matters.

Ian Birch, defending, told the court: "He tells me he suffers with severe mental health problems and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He was released on December 20 after retiring to hospital over his mental health and is normally employed as a chef.

"He was out of employment and finances. 

"His intention was to ensure he could provide others with what he believed would be gifts from him."

District Judge Gwyn Jones told the defendant: "You're to be dealt with today for three thefts of trolleys full of food and alcohol - no doubt in advance of the Christmas alternative market.

"It's clear you made your way from Liverpool to the same store, stealing significant amounts of goods.


"Stores, even big ones, are having issues regarding losses - and they may not be available to put up with such losses impacting on their profitability."

The District Judge handed down a total custodial term of 20 weeks - but suspended it for 12 months.

Moffitt was ordered not to enter any Tesco store in England or Wales during that period of time.

He must also pay £650 in compensation and £85 costs.

The Leader:

Given the offences were committed after the defendant travelled to the area, District Judge Jones used his discretionary powers to ban the defendant from driving for 12 months.

Moffitt responded: "But Judge, I was going to get a burger van."

The Judge answered: "I don't think the burger van is an issue for the moment - the effect of this sentence is that you're walking out of court today."