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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham shoplifter who faked illness in court, took drugs in dock and sacked counsel is jailed

A prolific shoplifter who caused havoc in the dock at Gloucester Crown Court while he was being sentenced is finally behind bars after two abortive attempts by a judge to pass sentence on him.

Daniel Harvey, 38, of Hesters Way Road, Cheltenham, first appeared before the court last week on a host of shoplifting and motoring charges.

Harvey entered the dock on crutches, complaining of being unwell and stated that he had asked the security staff to call an ambulance.

As the wailing of sirens could be heard within the courtroom, Judge Ian Lawrie QC cancelled the ambulance and told Harvey to sit in the dock and face the music.

As prosecutor Julian Kesner attempted to outline the charges against Harvey he continually tried to butt in and often shouted 'it's only shoplifting, not murder'.

Mr Kesner said: "Harvey is every retailer's nightmare. He already has 63 convictions for shoplifting over the past 20 years.

"During which time every sentencing option has been tried, from community orders to custody. Nothing seems to work.

"This current shoplifting spree has been carried out in Cheltenham, Gloucester, Evesham, Malvern, Worcester, Cirencester and Tewkesbury.

"Harvey seems to specialise in fragrances, Champagne, whisky, gin and jewellery and his stolen items are conservatively valued at £4,122.17."

Harvey then became even more troublesome in the dock with additional officers being called in to restrain him.

He then pulled a substance out of his trousers, believed to be heroin, and swallowed it.

At this point Judge Lawrie stopped proceedings for 10 minutes while Harvey was removed and the hearing continued without him.

Jennifer Stetson, defending, said that Harvey had sacked her as his counsel.

"He made it clear through his vile language that he doesn't want my legal services to defend him," she said.

Judge Lawrie then said: "I am not having Harvey create havoc in this court. I am revoking any outstanding community orders and it will be custody for him."

The judge remanded Harvey in custody until the hearing was to be resumed on Monday morning.

However, Harvey failed to get on the transport at Bristol prison on Monday morning and the hearing rescheduled for Tuesday and was conducted via video link from the prison.

Robyn Rowland, now representing Harvey, said: "There is limit to what I can say after what's gone on here in court.

"Harvey has a history of drug use and suffers from a number of medical issues. He accepts the number of offences against him and realises that he faces a custodial sentence."

Judge Lawrie said: "Harvey is being sentenced for 16 offences, primarily for theft from a variety of retail outlets within the counties of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.

"Harvey has pleaded guilty to these offences in the Magistrates' Court. However, he was committed to the Crown Court for sentencing.

"Harvey was due to be sentenced last Friday, however due to his generally disruptive behaviour in this court, his sentence had to be adjourned.

"The offences occurred on assorted dates between June 5 and November 28 last year and with the exception of one driving offence on September 13, 2018, they all involve the theft of items from shops.

"Harvey is a man who commits theft from retail outlets with a brazen and resolute persistence. He was often assisted and accompanied by others, such as his partner and some young children.

"I have little doubt these thefts were planned and Harvey was the lead offender.

"Harvey chose to travel some distance from his home in Cheltenham, probably because he was well-known in his home town, in order to steel items of high value.

"I firmly believe Harvey was deliberately stealing goods of value where there was the prospect of a reasonable financial return upon subsequent onward resale."

The judge remarked that sentencing guidelines do not cater for the prolific offending such as that committed by Harvey.

Judge Lawrie concluded: "The cumulative weight of these assorted offences of theft before the court, are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified."

The judge sentenced Harvey to three years and nine months in jail, disqualified him from driving for two years and five months for having no insurance and no driving licence and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge.

Some of the high end items stolen by Daniel Harvey between June 5 and November 28 last year:

• Champagne valued at £75 from the BP garage in Tewksbury.

• Oerfumes worth £1,220.96 from Boots in Malvern.

• Jewellery valued at £1,100 from H Samuels in Cheltenham.

• Meat of an unknown value of stolen from an Aldi store.

• £183.64 worth of wine from Majestic

• £380 worth of alcohol from the M5 southbound services at Brookthorpe.

• Perfume valued at £99.96 from Savers in Pershore.

• Perfume valued at £112 from Boots in Pershore; perfume valued at £1,221 from Boots in Malvern

• Perfume valued at £45 from Boots in Evesham

• 11 dolls valued at £120.67 from a store in Pershore.

• £126 worth of whiskey and 12 bottles of alcohol valued at £240 from Co-op Harebrushes Services, Cirencester.

• perfume and food items stolen from Boots in Gloucester valued at £263

• Perfume valued at £148from Boots in Cheltenham.

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