A SHOPLIFTER who stole more than £1,000 of fragrances from a Chester city centre department store has been spared an immediate jail term.

Robert Bryn Williams, 54, of Chester Road, Buckley, pleaded guilty to three offences of shoplifting dating from December 29, January 2 and January 3, all from Debenhams.

On the third occasion, Williams was caught by security trying to steal £385.80 of fragrances from the Eastgate Street store, and the goods were recovered.

Williams admitted having stolen fragrances collectively worth £734.50 on the previous two occasions, and compensation was sought for these items.

Interviewed, Williams said he was stealing the items to fund his drug habit.

He had eight previous convictions for 15 offences, nine of them for theft and dishonesty matters.

Defending, the court heard Williams was doing quite well on limiting his drug use, but unfortunately his mother had passed away and he had reverted to drugs as a coping mechanism.

He wanted to seek help and would benefit from a drug rehabilitation order.

He was in poor health, with the case having been adjourned previously because he had been admitted to hospital.

Williams had quite significant angina and a chest infection and was warned if he did not slow down he was at risk of a stroke.

A probation report heard Williams had attended appointments as part of a previous community order requirement.

Magistrates handed Williams a six-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

As part of the suspended sentence he must complete 25 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

He must also pay £734 compensation to Debenhams.