Prolific shoplifter jailed - Hemel Hempstead


A Hemel Hempstead store is to get a much needed break from the activities of prolific shoplifter Martin Horsefall.

When Horsefall, aged 32, appeared for sentence at St Albans Crown Court, on Friday, 17 March 2017, Judge Andrew Bright QC jailed him for 15 months and made him the subject of a restraining order, which bans him from entering the Co-Op store in Queens Square for an indefinite period when he comes out of prison.

Judge Bright was told how, between the end of December last year and the beginning of February this year, Horsefall was behind a series of shoplifting offences at stores in Hemel. Nine of the offences were committed at the Queens Square Co-Op store and all were committed to fund the defendant's addiction to class A drugs.

The Judge told Horsefall he was a "professional shoplifter," who stole goods to sell on and raise the funds to support his lifestyle and drug purchases.

Horsefall, of Masons Road, Hemel Hempstead, appeared at court to admit 14 offences of shoplifting as well as taking a prohibited article into The Mount Prison in Bovingdon and possessing heroin.

Andrea Scott-Lynch, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said it was on 21 July last year that Horsefall was caught by staff at the jail trying to smuggle two illegal mobile phones to an inmate when he turned up that afternoon for a supposed visit. He was also found to be in possession of a small amount of heroin which was for his own use.

The court was told he was arrested and bailed and it was in December of last year that he committed the first shoplifting offence at the Co-Op store in Bellgate, Hemel, when he stole bottles of Prosecco worth £60. Then, on 21 December, he struck at the Co-Op store in Queens Square when he tried to make off with £50 worth of alcohol. Eight days later he was back at the same store when he again tried to make off with bottles of alcohol.

The court heard that throughout January of this year the defendant targetted more stores and supermarkets in Hemel targeting packets of meat which, like alcohol, he knew he would be able to sell on. His last shoplifting offence was back at the Queens Square Co-Op on 1 February, when he stole items of meat.

Judge Bright was told that, in all, Horsefall had stolen nearly £800 worth of goods.

Miss Kerry Anne Currie, defending, said Horsefall had a long list of previous offences which could be linked to his drug problem. She said he now wanted to tackle his drug dependency.

Judge Bright told the defendant he was a "serial offender."

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