A “SIGNIFICANT menace to shopkeepers" has been jailed for a burglary and a host of shopliftings spanning over the course of a year.

Benjamin James Cook, 38, of HMP Lewes, pleaded guilty to one burglary Pawseidon in the Albany Industrial estate, two assaults and a number of thefts making 17 offences in total.

He was sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday, November 19.

Bournemouth Echo: Benjamin James Cook

Prosecuting, Peter Pride said the two assaults relate to the victim beating someone trying to stop him shoplifting.

The first involves pushing a woman to the ground at the Co-op store in Cookswell, Shillingstone and the second involved him punching a man in the face at the Damory Garage in Blandford. They both occurred on November 7, 2020.

There are then other thefts, including in Wimborne, Fordingbridge, Bournemouth and Poole.

Approximately £10,000 was stolen in total, the court heard, including steaks, chocolate, washing products and an iPhone charger.

Mr Pride said: “The offending starts in June 2020 and goes through to June 2021.”

The burglary of Pawseidon, a dog rehabilitation centre, involved Cook stealing £7,000 worth of items, including a £2,300 Tag Huer watch and £300 in Scottish bank notes.

He had 28 previous convictions from 118 offences, including burglaries and shoplifting.

Mitigating, David Freeland said Cook was thieving to fund a drug habit.

He added the defendant was “remorseful” and admitted he “needed to get his priorities right”.

Judge Robert Pawson sentenced Cook to two years and two months for the burglary and one year for the shoplifting on November 7. The sentences would be served consecutively making three years and two months.

He was given a concurrent sentence of four months for each assault and one month for each of the rest of the thefts.

Judge Pawson said: “For the non-dwelling burglary you forced entry, caused a significant amount of damage and stole £7,000 worth of property.

“You have expressed remorse. The pre-sentence report interestingly uses two words, remorse and regret, it seems regret is more accurate.

“If you were remorseful you would have stopped. Regret is more for the position you find yourself in than genuine remorse for the victims.

“You have posed a significant menace to shopkeepers locally and they deserve a break from you.”

Chief inspector Adrian Thompson, of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole police, said: “We recognise the impact repeat offenders such as Benjamin Cook have on local businesses.

"We are committed to working with members of the business community, as well as the BID and local authority, to ensure those who commit offences of this nature are identified and brought before the courts.”