Grantham

Homeless shoplifter found with knife jailed

A homeless man who was caught with a kitchen knife after police searched him in a Grantham shopping centre was jailed for ten months.

Paul James Mason, 38, was stopped by officers after he was suspected of stealing a packet of high value pens from WH Smiths in the Issac Newton centre.

Lincoln Crown Court heard a shop assistant believed Mason had hidden the packet of pens valued at £14 behind a notepad which he was carrying.

Chris Jeyes, prosecuting, said the store assistant found a security tag had been removed from the pens once Mason had left the shop and alerted security.

Mason was still in the shopping centre when he was approached by the police and found to be in possession of both the pens and a kitchen knife which was contained in a bag.

Mr Jeyes told the court: “The blade of the kitchen knife was three and a half inches long.”

Mason, who is homeless, was arrested and taken to Grantham police station but refused to be interviewed.

The court heard Mason had six previous convictions for weapons offences including possessing a bladed article, possessing an imitation firearm and having an offensive weapon.

George Wills, mitigating, said the knife was found contained in the bag and had not been produced to the shop assistant.

Mason, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article and theft of the pens on June 15 this year.

Passing sentence Judge Simon Hirst told Mason the offences were aggravated by his previous record for carrying weapons.

Judge Hirst said: “Carrying knives will result in prison sentences of increasing duration.”