A MAN who stole £1,310 worth of cigarettes from a store in Rhyl has been spared jail.

John Fannon, 36, of Whitney Road, Liverpool, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for a year, at Mold Crown Court today (July 9).

He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary (other than a dwelling).


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Prosecuting, Thomas McLoughlin told the court that, at 7.15pm on June 30, 2023, police received a report of a “high-value theft” from Bargain Booze, on Vale Road.

A couple of males had been seen “loitering”, and while a male other than Fannon seemed to distract the shop worker on duty, the defendant entered the private area of the store.

From there, he stole numerous packets of cigarettes, worth a cumulative value of £1,310.

Then, on August 6, 2023, Fannon and the other male returned to Bargain Booze, at which time the store’s manager was working there.

Fannon stood to one side while the other male distracted the manager by asking about products on sale.

He then entered the same private area again, only to find the cabinet he took cigarettes from was now locked.

Instead, he tried a different set of drawers, and when later challenged by the manager, said: “It’s only a bottle of wine.”

A bag he was carrying was found to contain loose cigarettes and tobacco worth a total of £400, meanwhile.

The manager said this incident made her feel “anxious”, as well as concerned for the safety of herself and that of her staff.

Defending Fannon, who had 64 previous convictions for 129 offences (including 88 of either theft or similar), Richard Edwards conceded that his client has an “appalling record”.

Fannon, he said, has not re-offended since his release from prison in May, is in employment, and has “stable” accommodation with his partner and daughter.

“He doesn’t want his daughter to grow up the way he grew up,” Mr Edwards said.

“He wants assistance from the probation service. He knows where he would go if he doesn’t comply with an order from the court.”

Sentencing, Judge Niclas Parry noted that Fannon was responsible for “a quarter of a century of dishonesty”

“Although these may sound like pretty trivial matters, they weren’t,” Judge Parry told him.

“You were clever. You were targeting stores where only one person usually works, usually a female; a vulnerable, easy target. She has been left afraid in her place of work.

“By your record, I suppose keeping out of trouble between May and July isn’t bad going, but that has to continue.”

Judge Parry ordered Fannon to complete 20 days’ rehabilitation activity and an accredited programme requirement.

He will also pay a statutory surcharge, and £750 in compensation.

“You know what a suspended sentence is; you’ve had enough of them,” Judge Parry added to Fannon.

“If you don’t comply with it, then there’s no more help we can give you.

“Don’t reoffend, and hopefully, you can move on. Take your chance.”