A “PROFESSIONAL” criminal targeted stores to steal high value goods – including designer items – during a spate of shoplifting that took him across Gwent and the West Country.

Michael Denyer was so brazen during his crime spree that he took some of his clothes off in one shop to put new garments on before trying to walk out.

The 31-year-old was caught trying to leave Tesco in Newport Retail Park on Spytty Road with a new wardrobe worth nearly £300, prosecutor Steven Donoghue said.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how Denyer went about his work equipped with a security tag remover and was stealing to fund his drug habit.

The defendant, Mr Donoghue said, has a “tremendous amount of previous convictions”, 33 in all for 83 offences, including dishonesty, burglary and driving offences.

The court heard how Denyer’s latest crime wave started at Bristol’s Gallagher Retail Park on May 7 when he and a female accomplice swiped more than £3,000 of goods from Marks & Spencer and Boots.


They were arrested a few minutes later after driving off in a Peugeot, the police finding the loot inside the car and the vehicle's boot.

The court heard how the woman was handed a 12-month community order last month.

Denyer was bailed and struck again a few days later in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, when he stole a handbag worth nearly £800 from the Mulberry Factory Shop and jumped over the counter at Argos and entered the staff area where he tried to gain access to the jewellery cabinet.

His final offence was committed in Newport Retail Park on June 26 when he was stopped by staff trying to walk out of Tesco.

Denyer, of Millground Road, Bristol, admitted four counts of theft from a shop, attempted burglary, driving whilst disqualified and driving with no insurance.

Katie Jenkins, for the defendant, said in mitigation that her client had a history of mental health problems and had stolen to “feed a drug habit”.

She added: “He has a hazy recollection of these offences.”

His barrister also told the court how Denyer had “not been feeling very well in custody” and had suffered a broken jaw after being attacked in prison.

The Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees, told the defendant: “You were acting as a professional in the way you went about your offending, targeting high value goods.

“I accept that it was probably to feed a habit.”

She jailed him for two years and banned him from driving for three years.