A ‘prolific offender’ has been handed a suspended prison sentence after visiting a Narberth shop to steal alcohol four times in three days.

John James William Bell, of Ferwig, pleaded guilty to attempted theft and three charges of theft from a shop when he appeared at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Tuesday, June 4.

The court heard that Bell, 35, who had a ‘catalogue of similar offending’, stole alcohol from Spar Stores, Narberth, on May 18, 19 and attempted to steal from the same shop on May 20.

Sian Vaughan, prosecuting, said: “Ultimately he stole £197.34 of alcohol. When stopped he was aggressive and attempted to run away from the scene, but fortunately the police attended.”

Katy Hanson, defending, said: “When spoken to by police he admitted the offences. He knows that he is in a serious position today.”

Miss Hanson added that Bell, who suffered from anxiety and depression, had made good progress after disclosing a long-term heroin addiction, was engaging with the probation service, and wanted the opportunity to go into rehab.

“He recognises that the only way to address these issues it to be open and honest about the problems he has.”

Magistrates sentenced Bell to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was ordered to pay a total of £397.34 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.

The chairman of the bench said: “We do think that you are a prolific offender and you committed these offences while under post-sentence supervision.

“We are basically giving you a chance. If you breach this in any way you will be back in prison.”