Shoplifter nabbed - because his name was on his shirt

Emma Woollacott
A Manchester United shirt
A Manchester United shirt

A bungling shoplifter was caught stealing from a Northern Ireland Tesco store - because his name was printed on his football shirt.

Paul Robert Benson, 24, of Lurgan, stole £104.54 worth of groceries from the Lurgan supermarket in September last year, but abandoned his haul in the car park and fled when he realised he'd been spotted by staff.

Unfortunately for Benson, though, he'd given them a strong clue to his identity, by wearing a Manchester United shirt with 'Benson 22' printed on the back. Not only had the staff spotted it easily, it showed up clearly on CCTV.

When the police caught up with Benson, who had a previous conviction for stealing a bottle of alcohol, he admitted the theft.

And, earlier this week, the Lurgan Mail reports, Benson was given a 12 month probation order at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Sentencing him to a 12 month probation order, district judge Mervyn Bates poured scorn on his incompetence: he might as well have had a neon sign identifying himself, Mr Bates said.

An armchair psychologist might suggest that on some level Benson wanted to be caught; but if so, there's a lot of it about.

In January, Staffordshire burglar Scott Tinsley was jailed after being caught stealing from a house - where he fell asleep on the sofa after taking drugs. He was found snoring in the sitting room in the morning; the judge told him: "You are a rather pathetic figure."

Last year, Abertillery thief Ryan Meek was caught after punching a man and stealing his gold necklace at a party where plenty of people knew and could identify him. But as if this wasn't enough to get him caught, he then went on to give the necklace to his girlfriend - still spattered with drops of blood.

And in 2012, Cornwall man Jamie Neil was determined not to be caught while robbing a Co-op petrol station, so decided to wear a disguise. Unfortunately, he picked a rather unusual way of doing this - by putting a transparent plastic bag over his head. He was recognised easily from CCTV images by a police officer who had run across him before.

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