Prolific thief caught out by old school pal

B&M Bargains
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A prolific shoplifter who used a false name to try to trick police came unstuck when he was recognised by someone he went to school with as he tried to steal from a store.

Andrew Siddall used a fake name when he was caught shoplifting and was cautioned by police in that name.

But he then tried to use the same lie when picked up for stealing again a couple of months later.

This time, he was recognised from his schooldays by a staff member at a branch of B&M Bargains.

And his true identity was revealed when he was fingerprinted, a court heard.

Siddall, 26, of Cornwall Avenue, Cleveleys was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, when he appeared before a judge at Preston Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty to doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice, and also two shoplifting offences.

Emma Kehoe, prosecuting, said the defendant was detained for shoplifting at Asda on Cherry Tree Road, Blackpool, on September 9 last year.

He had paid for one cheap item, but left without paying for £28 of goods.

Siddall went on to give his name as Andrew Hill, but used his own date of birth.

He maintained that identity to police.

He was interviewed in that name, fully admitted the offences and appeared eligible for a caution, said Miss Kehoe.

Two months later, a member of staff at B&M Bargains in Blackpool noticed Siddall on CCTV.

He picked up a £5.99 bottle a wine and tried to leave without paying for it.

Again, he gave the surname of Hill and used his own date of birth.

But a worker there believed he had been to school with him some years earlier.

That information was passed on to police when they arrived.

The prosecution said that, when his fingerprints were taken at a police station, Siddall’s true identity was shown.

He went on to tell police in interview that a friend had asked him to go and get a bottle of wine and he had been stupid enough to do it.

He had given police false details because he was scared of possibly being sent to prison.

At the time he was ‘sofa surfing’ and not receiving any benefits.

Chris Hudson, defending, said Siddall had been a prolific shoplifter and then compounded that situation by giving a false name.

He was susceptible to influence from others.

“One of his significant problems has been alcohol”, Mr Hudson told the court.

“He is adamant that has been reduced. He is now under his sister’s good influence”.

Siddall was also given two years’ supervision and a three-month curfew, to run from 8pm-7am each night.