Cash-strapped car crash survivor resorted to shoplifting in Chesterfield after suffering Universal Credit woe

A poor thief who has been struggling with health conditions after a serious car crash and benefit problems resorted to shoplifting at a Primark store.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard how Graeme Gibbons, 40, of Handley Road, at New Whittington, Chesterfield, concealed garments down the front of his clothing and under his jacket at the store in Chesterfield.

Primark

Primark

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “Mr Gibbons was seen in the Primark store picking up gloves and a hat and he concealed them down the front of his clothing.

“And he picked up other items and went into the fitting room and concealed two further t-shirts inside his jacket.”

Gibbons paid for a low-value item, according to Mrs Allsop, but he was stopped leaving the shop.

The defendant told police he had been desperate because he had changed his benefits to Universal Credit and was not going to receive any money for three weeks so he sold a possession to raise cash but lost this money.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

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Gibbons, who has previous convictions, pleaded guilty to the theft which happened on November 6.

Defence solicitor Karl Meakin said Gibbons had been in a car crash in 2012 and he lost two friends and suffered a broken back and had been left in a coma.

Mr Meakin added that Gibbons suffered significant brain injuries which left him with epilepsy and low moods.

The defendant has been managing to cope but delays with Universal Credit had created financial problems.

Mr Meakin said: “He was moving to Universal Credit and I am sure you are aware that the system has been less than smoothly implemented and he has had no financial support from the benefit system.”

Gibbons had sold an XBox 360 to raise cash but lost the money, according to Mr Meakin, and he stole clothes for himself and to sell on.

Magistrates sentenced Gibbons to a 12 month conditional discharge but warned if he re-offends he will be re-sentenced for the theft and any new crime.

Gibbons was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.