Burnley thief nicknamed 'The Joker' caught stealing beer from supermarket

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A notorious crook known as "The Joker" was up to his old tricks when he got caught stealing in the supermarket he does his weekly shop in.

Jason Gorton, who has 204 offences behind him, helped himself to 24 cans of French beer from Aldi in Burnley.

Gorton, now 43, put the alcohol down on the packing bench, had a look round to see if anybody noticed and then left the premises.

The magistrates were told Gorton, who has been trying to put his life of crime behind him over the last two years, was caught on CCTV.

Prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates said: "The store manager knows Mr Gorton by name as he comes into that store at least once a week to do his shopping."

Gorton was questioned and claimed he thought his partner had paid for the beer. He then owned up when shown the CCTV. He had been convicted 65 times and had committed 58 previous offences of theft, she added.

The court was told the ex-con has vowed to stop getting into trouble and, according to his solicitor, had been attempting to "keep on the straight and narrow".

Mr Vaqas Latif said Gorton now spent his time going round round with a horse and cart, with scrap items to be weighed in.

The lawyer continued :" He's keeping busy and that's what he continues to do. He is sorry for the offence. He's just let himself down on this occasion. He is willing to pay for the cans of beer that were stolen. "

Mr Latif added: "Jason has no intention of committing further offences. He wants to continue with his horse and cart business."

The Bench chairman said the defendant had breached conditional discharges and went on :" We are concerned about his attitude to court orders."

He told Gorton: "No Bench is going to tolerate theft and particularly not with the track record you have got. It's open for us to look at custody because it's aggravated by your previous convictions."

The defendant, of Girvan Grove, Burnley, admitted stealing items worth £19.74 on March 23rd.

Gorton, who is on universal credit, was fined £80, with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge and must pay £19.74 compensation.