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Brighton shoplifter asks court: "Why jail me? I'll only watch TV"
11:30am Wednesday 16th May 2012 in News
A serial shoplifter told magistrates that if they jailed him he would only end up watching television in prison.
Gregory Horrabin stole wine on a drinking binge and breached an antisocial behaviour order because he had not read it.
Now he has been sent back to prison to complete a previous sentence – and given an extra six-week term for his latest crimes.
When he appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court he instructed his solicitor, Lucinda Dore, to ask: “If I receive a short-term custodial sentence, what benefit is that going to have for me? “I’ll be lying down in bed watching TV.”
Horrabin, 43, of Grand Parade, Brighton, was jailed for six weeks for shoplifting in March. On April 20, after his release on licence, he went into Tesco in Western Road, Hove, and stole six bottles of wine, worth £29.94.
Miss Dore told the court he was penniless when he was released because he was waiting for his benefits claims to be reassessed.
She said: “He is binge drinking simply to deal with the difficulties he has.”
Horrabin was banned from 27 city centre stores under an antisocial behaviour order handed down last week. Those shops included Boots in North Street, where he was arrested after security guards saw him on Saturday. Following his arrest he tested positive for cocaine.
At court yesterday he admitted the theft, breaching the Asbo and a charge of failing to turn up for an appointment for his drug problem to be assessed. Miss Dore said: “He has a horrendous record of being before the court.”
She said a short prison sentence would mean he would not be able to complete any rehabilitation courses while in prison. The court was told he has a crack cocaine habit costing up to £50 a week and cannot do some work because he’s blind in one eye.
Horrabin has said he plans to appeal against his Asbo. He was taken to prison to serve the rest of his original theft term. Presiding magistrate Geoffrey Cornwell also handed down a six week sentence for the Tesco theft and Asbo breach, to begin when the other term ends.
Lisa Perretta, the manager of the Brighton and Hove Business Crime Reduction Partnership, was involved in the application for an Asbo for Horrabin.
She said: “If he continues breaching it they are going to come down on him harder and harder. “As far as I’m concerned, if it keeps him away from the shops, that’s fine.”