Prolific shoplifter hoped Covid mask might stop him being caught

Gary Jakeman Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Gary Jakeman Photo: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Archant

A prolific offender who carried out a spree of shoplifting offences during the coronavirus pandemic had hoped his face mask might stop him being identified, a court heard.

Gary Jakeman, 31, carried out a spree of offending across the city towards the end of last summer and into the autumn.

Norwich Crown Court heard that between July 25 and November 16 last year he committed 11 shoplifting offences, two thefts from vehicles and a fraud offence.

Jude Durr, prosecuting, said the total value of items stolen was £2167.

As well as those offences, many of which happened at Tesco Express in Norwich as well as John Lewis and Boots at Riverside, Jakeman also committed another three shoplifting offences and a theft from vehicle between August 28 and September 28 last year.

The defendant also committed a further six offences, including taking a vehicle without consent, between September 8 and October 1 last year.

Mr Durr said: “It seems the defendant took full advantage of the present Covid-19 situation and the fact he was wearing a mask at the time of committing some of these offences as a hope perhaps that he would not be identified and detected.”

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He was however picked up on CCTV and recognised by officers.

The court was told Jakeman had “significant previous convictions” for dishonesty and thefts.


Jakeman, formerly of William Kett Close, Norwich, appeared in court for sentence on Thursday, February 18 having admitted all matters.

He also asked for seven other matters, including theft from vehicles, fraud, shoplifting, to be taken into consideration.

Sentencing Jakeman to a total of 15 months in prison, Recorder Guy Ayers said he had a “prolific record for dishonesty” and had embarked on a “spree” of offending later last year.

Nathanial Wade, mitigating, said Jakeman was someone with a “terrible” criminal record.

He said individually the offences were not serious themselves but was the number of them as well as his record which made it serious.

Mr Wade said there was not much evidence of planning, adding they were as a result of desperation.

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