A CAREER shoplifter has said he wants to go clean – after admitting his latest raids on a Swindon Co-op.

Christopher Simpkins has more than 100 theft offences on his record, including a number for targeting Co-operative supermarkets.

But appearing before Swindon justices on Thursday he swore he would go straight.

The 41-year-old, of The Bungalows, Pinehurst, admitted five shoplifting charges, stealing almost £550worth of meat from the Co-op in October, November and December last year.

Prosecutor Michelle Hewitt described the thefts as straightforward. Simpkins stashed the meat in his pockets and was identified from CCTV.

Emma Hillier, defending, said her client was keen to make a change – having spent recent years in-and-out of jail.

“He feels he is wasting his time in prison," she said. "He has a permanent address and he really wants to make a good go of his life this time when he comes out.

"He has also stated to me he is now thinking through the consequences of his actions whereas previously he would act in a very impulsive manner."

She said Simpkins wanted to set up his own business selling clothes.

Probation officer Michelle James said Simpkins appeared to have changed since the last time he was in court. He was not speaking back or complaining to justices.

Magistrates adjourned sentence to March 18. Chairman of the bench Prof David Whetham said: “You’ve had two people speak on your behalf now saying you are presenting in a very different manner than is usual.”

He pointed to Simpkins’ lengthy record, adding: “44 pages of offending history here. Going for another custodial sentence – it’s not going to change anything.”

A pre-sentence report was ordered from the probation service, with Prof Whetham warning that “all options” were open to the court, including prison.

Simpkins has a long history with the Swindon courts.

In 2018 he was given a nine-month jail sentence for threatening the Farmfoods customer who tried to stop him stealing a leg of lamb.

The addict was followed out of the store by shop assistants and the customer. They tried to detain him as he went to his bicycle to ride off but the staff and customer grabbed hold of it.

He got off his bicycle and pulled out a Stanley knife blade. He repeatedly shouted “I’ll stab you,” as the other customer grabbed the bike and used it as a shield to protect himself from the weapon.

Passing sentence on that occasion Recorder Ed Burgess QC said: “You have an appalling criminal record, you know that.

“You have been in the dock of this court and the magistrates court countless times before.

“All that seems to be rooted in your very long addiction to class A drugs which you seek to fund by theft time and time and time again.”