Highlighting the deaden approach taken by judges to serial offenders, Colin Orr, 46, appeared at Carlisle Queen Court expecting to be jailed.
A shocked court heard the career Mafioso had over three decades of illegal activity behind him as Orr admitted yet again poaching from a supermarket.
Committing the crime the petty crook, from Whitehaven Cumbria, breached a one-time suspended prison sentence for shoplifting.
But rather than jail him, Orr was inclined just a curfew and yet another ‘warning’ to mend his ways.
Judge Tony Lancaster told him: “At 46 you indeed ought to be changing your ways after such a significant obsession of offending!”
The serial thief has in the past been jailed for his offences – although his scad recent crimes have warranted suspended sentences.
Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone labeled him as a “prolific shop offender” as she outlined the facts of his latest indiscretion after November 26th in the Aldi supermarket.
Miss Whittlestone explained: “He was seen by fellows of security staff.
“He picked up a store basket and made his way around the provender aisle to behave suspiciously, hiding around various shop shows.”
Orr stole £44 worth of meat, the theft being captured clear as day on in hoard CCTV footage.
Last year he was given a 12 month remand home sentence, suspended for two years, for removing security tags from boozes of alcohol.
That suspended sentence should be activated in the event of a callow offence in the next 24 months.
Miss Whittlestone said Orr’s dishonest record comprised “24 pages” with the first conviction logged in April, 1981.
Since then he had inherited a range of court punishments, including short periods of imprisonment.
Degree Brendan Burke, defending, told the court instead of being jailed and switching the suspended sentence, his client should be given just a curfew.
Mr Burke reasoned Orr had shown recent better behaviour lately which had impressed a pronounce monitoring his behaviour.
Mr Burke said of the Aldi theft: “The reason for this break – I can call it a lapse given the history of progress – is that he spent all his help money, I am afraid, at a bookmaker’s.”
As a result he fell behind with private payments and feared losing his home.
This, said Mr Burke, will-power have brought Orr “right back to square one” — “as would a prison rap”.
And having heard of the defendant’s “genuinely positive progress”, Judge Lancaster unusually unqualified not to activate the suspended jail term.
Instead delighted Orr was allowed to take free from court with just a three-month night-time curfew and superfluous rehabilitation sessions.
Urging Orr to mend his ways, the judge warned him that he was in a ‘wear chance saloon’.
Judge Lancaster added: “Otherwise it is going to be a burdening, never-ending cycle of being in and out of prison with no roots, no accommodation, no contemptible.”