Career criminal avoids prison for latest spree

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A CAREER criminal who has committed 40 offences has escaped jail following his latest crime spree.

Paul Ebbage was spared prison after Doncaster Crown Court heard that jailing the defendant, who was swayed into taking drugs by peer pressure, would hinder rather than help him.

The 23-year-old appeared in the dock for the 19th time after he stole two vehicles, including a Vauxhall Zafira, and changed the number plates. He was also caught shoplifting.

The vehicles stolen days apart in November were recovered in Thorne and Ebbage was arrested, the court was told.

Months earlier Ebbage, of Fieldside, Thorne, had received a conditional discharge for shoplifting.

Many of his previous convictions included theft and shoplifting, for which he had served time in prison said Brian Outhwaite, prosecuting.

Other offences Ebbage had committed included driving offences and assault.

Following his latest offending the defendant pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, dishonesty and the theft of motor vehicles.

He was given a 44 week jail term, suspended for two years.

Michael Cane-Soothill, in mititgation, said during the time he was supervised his client had made significant progress and had come off drugs that he had previously had problems with.

He added: “Mr Ebbage is not work-shy, he obtained employment, which ending in October 2010. It is then that things started to go, in my clients own words, downhill.

“He gives in easily to peer pressure, and he knows he will have to deal with this in the future.

“When he has the motivation to stay on the straight and narrow – by being under supervision – he responds well.

“If Mr Ebbage receives a custodial sentence he will lose the flat he is currently living in, and I fear this will turn him once again to his life of crime.”

Judge Davies, sentencing Ebbage, told him, “Full credit has been given for your guilty pleas. However, you have appeared before a court many times previously.

“Any breach of the order, you will be back in court and an custodial sentence will be imposed.”

Ebbage was also ordered to attended a drug rehabilitation programme for 12 months and be supervised by the probation service for two years.