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COURT: Serial shoplifter Matthew Gillett stole hoover to buy heroin in Maidstone

Friday 19th July 2019

A REPEAT shoplifter with a “horrendous” criminal record dodged jail after stealing a hoover, razors and laundry products from Maidstone to fund his heroin addiction.

Matthew John Gillett (36,) of Newnham Court stole a hoover worth £100 from T J Hughes, laundry products worth £68 from Wilkinson’s and £100 worth of razors from Boots.

Prosecuting, James Nichols told Maidstone Magistrates Court: “None of the items were recovered and were all caught on CCTV. He is currently on a 12 month community order for shoplifting.

Probation officer, Emma Robson said: “Mr Gillett is currently living in accommodation after being homeless. Since the age of 15, he was had an addiction to controlled substances, mostly heroin. He was doing well and was clean for eight months and was on methadone as an alternative. He started using again and would spend up to £20 a day on heroin. His way of getting the money is stealing items to sell on.

“At the time of the offence, he recognised he had no money to fund the heroin use and had also received bad news about his accommodation. He had also just lost his grandmother.

“Mr Gillett has 38 convictions for 82 offences. They are mostly for breaches of suspended sentences and community orders. He does not have an official mental health diagnosis but his GP concluded he suffers from depression and anxiety.

“His GP also said he has a hole in his groin due to injecting himself so finds movement like walking difficult. I would say he has a medium to high risk of re-offending.”

Chairman of the bench, Gary Knight said: “Looking at the records, it seems someone has given Mr Gillett a chance on community orders and he’s just thought to himself ‘it doesn’t matter I can just breach it again’”

Defending, Russell Morling said: “He has got a horrendous record, but it has certainly slowed down. His got such a chaotic lifestyle that is very much all over the place. Foolishly, he started using heroin again but is not anymore. If he goes to prison today, what’s most likely is he will be back on the streets when he gets out because he will lose his accommodation.

“Last time he was in prison, he was attacked so he will definitely struggle in that environment. He is now at a stable point in his life.”

Mr Knight said: “This offence warrants a sentence of 90 days imprisonment, but we are going to go with a suspended sentence to replace your current community order. This is because of your positive report from probation and the fact there has been a reduction in criminal activity but there comes a point when enough is enough.”

Gillett pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and was fined £200 and a 12 month suspended sentence.

Mr Gillett said: “I’m glad to be give another opportunity. Thank you.”