Drug addict released on bail from Crawley Magistrates' Court walked straight into Debenhams to shoplift

A builder who was bailed by Crawley magistrates' 'simply went straight out, straight into Debenhams where he stole goods'.

Monday, 15th April 2019, 6:45 pm
Updated Monday, 15th April 2019, 6:52 pm
Harding was released on bail from Crawley Magistrates' Court, only to swiftly reoffend
Harding was released on bail from Crawley Magistrates' Court, only to swiftly reoffend

Shaun Harding, 51, had been granted bail but repaid that trust by stealing expensive perfume from the Crawley department store the very same day, a court heard.

Harding, a builder, of no fixed address, appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today after pleading guilty to: burglary, two counts of assault by beating, possession of crack cocaine, possession of cocaine and theft from a shop.

Harding 'simply walked straight out of court' and stole goods

The till was stolen from Curry House in Chichester. Picture: Google Streetview

Last month Harding was picked up by police on a warrant and appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on March 26.

Prosecutor Gaynor Byng said today: “He was granted bail and was allowed to leave court.

“He repaid this by simply going straight out of the court, straight into the store where he stole goods.”

Harding was caught stealing £235 of perfume from the Crawley branch of Debenhams, just ten minutes’ walk away.

Terrifying burglary of curry restaurant

Staff at Curry House in St Pancras in Chichester were in the kitchen when they heard a loud bang and saw Shaun Harding running off with the till on February 19 this year.

They gave chase and caught up with the 51-year-old but he became aggressive and punched one of them.

Prosecutor Ms Byng told the court that when staff caught up with him and grabbed him, Harding dropped the till and said ‘I have got a knife and I will stab you’.

She continued: “He then punched one man hard to the right eye socket causing immediate pain and then bruising.

“Another man was pulled into the wall of the building, causing bruising to his fingers.”

Officers arrived at the scene and arrested Harding, who gave a no comment interview.

Caught with drugs twice in Bognor

The other matters he was sentenced for – the drugs possession and the theft from a shop – relate to separate instances.

On September 27 last year Harding was arrested in Albert Road in Bognor.

He was searched and 17 wraps of a ‘white crystalline substance’ – later confirmed to be cocaine – was found concealed in his body.

Harding told police the drugs for his own personal use, the prosecutor said.

The following day police officers on duty in the esplanade in Bognor Regis saw a group who ‘appeared to be exchanging items’, the court heard.

Soon after they spotted Harding cycling in High Street and searched him, finding one wrap of what was later confirmed to be crack cocaine.

Longstanding drug addiction and childhood PTSD

A report from the probation service read out in court stated that the offences were ‘all born of his substance misuse’.

Harding, the report said, had a very difficult childhood from which he suffers PTSD and started taking drugs around age 13.

He wanted the money from Curry House in order to fund his habit and the assaults were his attempts to get away, the court heard.

Harding was given a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 24 months.

He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to each of the assault victims.