A SHOPLIFTER has been jailed – after fleeing a court in fear that he would be sent to prison.
Steven Clewes absconded from Kirklees Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.
He had pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in public and shop theft and ran when his solicitor advised him that custody would be considered.
The 40-year-old was jailed for 20 weeks on Friday – more than double the sentence he would have received had he stayed for his original hearing.
The Huddersfield court was told that he stole £199 worth of perfume and vitamins from Boots in King Street on July 19.
A store detective detained him after a short chase and a lock knife was found in his possession following his arrest.
Clewes, who had 115 offences to his name, said he stole to fund his drug habit.
Fazaila Kauser, mitigating, said that her client left court after his first hearing because he became upset after speaking with his solicitor.
She said: “He understood that a knife would attract a custodial sentence and he panicked.”
Sentencing him to 20 weeks in jail, District Judge Michael Fanning told him: “You would have got eight weeks but that offer was for that hearing only.
“Your record is appalling and anybody carrying a knife can expect going to prison with immediate effect – it’s no different for you.”
Clewes, of no fixed address, will have to pay £115 victim surcharge upon his release from prison and the knife will be forfeited and destroyed.