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Thief returns tablet he stole from charity shop after failing to get it to work

Christopher Hooson took the device back to the shop eight days after slipping it into his bag and walking out. A thief stole an Android tablet from a charity shop - only to return it eight days later when he struggled to get it to work.

Callous Christopher Hooson swiped the device from the window display of the Jonny Kennedy charity shop when staff weren’t looking.
Thief returns tablet he stole from charity shop after failing to get it to work
But the 33-year-old struggled to get the device to work and tried to donate it back to the shop just eight days later.

He was recognised by staff from CCTV footage and the police were called to the shop in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

Now Hooson, who initially claimed he had forgotten he had put the tablet in his bag and had returned it when he realised, has pleaded guilty to one count of shop theft.

Empty display window at the Jonny Kennedy Charity after Hooson swiped the tablet
Lynne Russell, prosecuting, told at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court the offence happened on November 11.

She said: “The defendant went into the Jonny Kennedy charity shop on Park Avenue. Once in there, he removed a computer tablet, valued at £50, which was in the window display.

“He put it in a carrier bag and left the shop.

“Eight days later, he returned to the same charity shop. He returned the stolen computer tablet.

“Because of CCTV, he was then identified by staff and arrested.”

Ms Russell added: “He was taken to the police station. He admitted taking the item. He said he saw it in the window and thought it would be cheap or free, as it was in a charity shop, so took it.

“He took it and realised it didn’t work without further equipment, so returned it to the shop.”

Hooson, of Barclay Street, Sunderland, was representing himself in court.

He said: “I didn’t intend to steal it. I forgot I had it in my bag, so I returned it when I noticed.”

But District Judge Begley didn’t accept Hooson’s excuse and said: “How do you walk out of a shop having put it in your bag and not notice?”
The charity shop in Whitley Bay was set up in memory of Jonny Kennedy, who died 10 years ago from the rare skin condition epidermolysis bullosa
Hooson replied: “I know, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?”

District Judge Begley said: “That’s not what happened, is it?”

After hesitating, Hooson replied: “No.”

Fining Hooson £75 for the offence, District Judge Begley said: “It’s not very nice to steal from a charity shop.

“At least some sense eventually returned to you and you returned the item. However, it is a particularly mean offence.”

Hooson was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Newcastle Chronicle Eric Duffield, co-founder and trustee of the Jonny Kennedy Charity shop, was pleased with Hooson's sentence
The shop was set-up in 2006 in honour of Jonny Kennedy, who died 10 years ago from the rare skin condition epidermolysis bullosa which causes the skin to blister and peel, and all proceeds go to fellow sufferers.

Speaking after the case, Eric Duffield, charity co-founder and trustee, said: “The judge was really good and seemed pretty angry. I was pleased he got more than just a small slap on the wrist.”

The shop has seen 12 thefts and break-ins since 2009, including burglars grabbing more than £400 from the till and a string of shoplifters making off with everything from a Playstation 2 and 16 games to a leather jacket off a mannequin.

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