Prolific shoplifter’s suspended sentence for ignoring Leighton Buzzard town centre ban

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A prolific shoplifter has been given a suspended prison sentence for repeatedly breaching an injunction banning him from entering Leighton Buzzard town centre.

John Denton was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment suspended for two years at Luton County Court on Thursday following a case brought by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Team and Bedfordshire Police.

The 29-year-old was told by the judge that if he breaches the injunction by entering the town centre during this two-year period then the full sentence is likely to be imposed.

Denton’s ban from Leighton Buzzard town centre stretches back to 2007.

That’s when the then South Bedfordshire Council applied to Luton County Court for injunctions against five individuals who were causing alarm and distress to shopkeepers and members of the public with their prolific shoplifting.

The improvement was immediate, with Denton the only member of this group who has continued to breach the injunction and he has been taken back to court by Central Bedfordshire Council on previous occasions.

That led to the latest action against Denton who now has a prison sentence looming over him if he breaches the injunction again.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Denton has had numerous warnings about entering the exclusion area but he has continued to ignore these and steal from shops in the town centre.

“This sentence shows that courts will deal harshly with anyone who consistently breaches their court orders.

“It also sends a message that Central Bedfordshire Council and the police will not tolerate anti-social behaviour and will take all steps available under the law to stop nuisance behaviour.”