Drug addict avoids jail after repeatedly stealing from Ilford Marks and Spencer

Marks & Spencer on Ilford High Road.

Marks & Spencer on Ilford High Road. - Credit: Archant

A drug addict and serial thief who stole hundreds of pounds worth of men’s clothing from an Ilford shop to fund his Class A drug habit has avoided a prison sentence.

Shinda Bajwa, aged 41, of Munster Avenue, Hounslow, admitted four counts of theft at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court today (Friday, February 15).

He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, and ordered to carry out 20 days’ unpaid community service.

He will also have to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

On four separate occasions between December 21 and January 12, Bajwa went into the Marks and Spencer’s store in Ilford High Road and stole items of men’s clothing to the total value of £488.

He did this, the court was told, to fund an expensive crack cocaine and heroine habit.

Philippa McCarthy, prosecuting, said: “All these offences were committed against Marks and Spencer’s and all were committed to fund his drug habit.

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“He has an extensive list of priors, including no less than 18 convictions, involving 36 offences - 23 of these for theft.

“He was last before this court in October last year, when he was imprisoned for 31 days for shoplifting.”

The court heard the former carpenter has been under strict bail conditions not to enter Ilford since his arrest - a rule he has broken twice.

Firstly, he was found in Ilford at 12.30am one night last week, and informed officers he was “going to see his girlfriend”.

On the second occasion on Wednesday (February 13) he claimed he had been going to visit his uncle in the town centre, to discuss plans to move in with him - despite the fact his bail conditions would have made any such move impossible.

Passing sentence, the chief magistrate said: “We have considered all the matters in front of us and we have concluded that these offences cross the custody threshold.

“This is because they are like offences, they are repeat offences and they are offences carried out for personal gain.”

After confirming the bench was imposing a suspended sentence, she added: “This is your very last chance.”