'Professional shoplifters' jailed for computer game thefts

TWO professional shoplifters who targeted Pembroke Dock have been jailed.

Michael Brinsden and Stephen O’Connor went “shopping” at Tesco armed with a heavy duty magnet to open security cases containing expensive computer games.

Chris James, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court the pair first selected a Welsh rugby shirt to conceal what they were about to do.

The pair then went to an aisle stocking computer games and used the magnet to open the security cases. They then replaced the games, worth £577, with lower value DVDs from elsewhere in the store.

Mr James said the men were caught when police carried out a routine stop on the A477.

Brinsden was in the front passenger seat of a Vauxhall and under the seat police found the magnet.

They were not satisfied with the men’s explanation and searched the boot, where they found the games.

Brinsden, aged 42, and O’Connor, 38, both from Griffith John Street, Swansea, admitted theft. O’Connor also admitted three additional offences of shoplifting and breaching a suspended prison sentence order.

Brinsden was jailed for 32 weeks and O’Connor for two years.

The court heard that Brinsden had a record of 135 previous offences and O’Connor one of 123, most of them for shoplifting.

Judge Chris Vosper said the men were “not you average shoplifters” but “professionals.”

Brinsden, he said, had been shoplifting regularly since 1988.

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