Serial Chesterfield shop thief jailed for stealing more than £2,000 in goods in five days

A homeless serial thief from Chesterfield has been jailed for stealing more than £2,000 of goods from stores in the town - just weeks after he was given a suspended sentence for a similar spate of thefts.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 6:00 am

Mark Meikleham, aged 39, of no fixed address, appeared before Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court today, Tuesday, December 3, charged with the thefts from Tesco, Lidl and the Co-op in a five-day spree between Wednesday, November 13, and Monday, November 18.

Items taken included electrical goods, food and cleaning products and Meikleham was caught on store CCTV committing the thefts and was twice challenged by staff at Tesco on Saturday, November 16, and by Lidl staff on Monday, November 18.

But he was only arrested and interviewed by police officers prior to his court appearance this morning.

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Chesterfield Magistrates' Court, where Mark James Meikleham appeared

Prosecutor Robert Carr told the court that goods still missing were worth £77 to the Co-op and £2,012 to Tesco. In interview, Meikleham said that he had stolen the goods to buy food, Mr Carr added.

Mitigating, Karl Meakin said: “He finds himself in a desperate situation - he is street homeless and says he would rather be in prison than on the streets. The big ticket items were stolen to order.”

In a previous rampage in September, Meikleham stole a phone at a Tesco Extra and struck at a Co-op and a Spar store in Chesterfield.

Meikleham also swore and threatened to throw a cup of coffee at a staff member at Boyes, on Cavendish Street, after she had been observing him on September 27.He pleaded guilty to these five counts of theft and admitted using threatening behaviour on October 9, and was given a 16-week prison term, suspended for 12 months.Magistrates today activated the suspended sentence and gave Meikleham a further 16 weeks for his latest offences - 32 weeks in prison in total - after he admitted these offences.He was also ordered to pay £38 in compensation to the Co-op and £900 to Tesco.