A prolific thief responsible for half of all thefts at several major stores in Morley has been banned from the town centre.
The ban was issued to Gary Hainsworth after police and council officials applied for a Criminal Behaviour Order using legislation which only came into force in October.
The 31-year-old, of Denshaw Grove, Morley, was convicted of stealing from the town’s Asda, Boots, Wilkinson’s and Co-op stores. He was jailed for 18 weeks at Leeds Magistrates’ Court last month.
Over the 12-month period leading up to his imprisonment he was responsible for the theft of goods worth a total of £1,620, which accounted for around half the theft-related losses of the businesses he targeted.
Staff were also often diverted from serving customers once they became aware he was on their premises, according to police.
The order, granted following an application by Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team, part of the Safer Leeds partnership, bans him from entering an area bordered by Commercial Street, Fountain Street, Corporation Street, Queensway and Troy Road, except to attend pre-booked appointments at the job centre or dentist.
Hainsworth is also prohibited from entering any retail premises from which he has been banned or excluded. The order is in force for two years and makes him liable to arrest and further prosecution if he breaches it on his release from prison.
Criminal Behaviour Orders came into force in October last year under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are aimed at tackling the most serious and persistent offenders.
Superintendent Sam Millar, who heads Safer Leeds, said: “We are continuing to make full use of this new legislation to target those whose criminal and anti-social behaviour has had an ongoing detrimental impact on local communities.
“The granting of this latest order is another good illustration of how the police and council are working together to provide long-term solutions to issues that affect local people’s quality of life.
“We hope it will provide some reassurance to local businesses and residents while also serving as a warning to others of the action they can expect to face if they continue to cause problems in our communities.”