A couple who went on a stealing spree shortly after being released from prison have been given a chance by a judge.

Ashley Rees, 36, and Suzanne Taylor, 29, who each have scores of previous convictions, swiped thousands of pounds worth of clothes from the Outlet Village.

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But Judge Jason Taylor QC said he was ‘really not sure I am taking the right course here,’ when he imposed a community order.

And he said he had not put them on a suspended sentence as the three months they have done on remand will not count if they slip up and he jails them.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the pair were in the shopping centre first thing in the morning of October 5.

Before the store was fully opened they sneaked under the metal shutters at the front of electrical store Bowes and made off with headphones worth £280.90p.

The following week he said they repeatedly used the back corridors at the mall to get into store rooms, targeting Hugo Boss on October 11.

Mr Meeke said “They were seen helping themselves to a wadge of suits, £1,700 worth of suits that they rolled up and made off with.”

The following day he said they were back making off with clothing worth £1,652.61p from the neighbouring Ralph Lauren store.

He said they were back two weeks later when Rees made off with a bicycle from one of the staff areas behind the shops.

A few days later they were at Sainsbury’s when they loaded a basket with booze and went to a changing room.

“When they came out the basket is empty but Miss Taylor’s bag is full. They were identified by security cameras,” Mr Meeke said.

The couple, of Reading Street, Railway Village, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and theft.

Rees admitted a further theft. Taylor denied that count as well as going equipped to steal after being allegedly caught with screwdrivers and pliers.

Sue Cavender, for Rees, said he had been in custody for three months and was now off drugs and clean to go straight when he is outside.

David Maunder, for Taylor, said she had a difficult young life with little emotional support and needed help.

Passing sentence the judge said that while they deserved to be jailed it was best for the public and them that they are rehabilitated.

He imposed two year community orders with six month drug rehabilitation requirements, 30 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 250 hours of unpaid work.