ONE of the most prolific shoplifters in the country has pleaded guilty to his 515th offence.

Bolton Magistrates Court heard how 65-year-old Harry Hankinson has a criminal record which includes 425 offences of theft and dishonesty. Steve Woodman, prosecuting, told magistrates: “It is the worst record I have ever seen.”

Mr Woodman said Hankinson was seen on CCTV taking three large packets of Gillette razor blades, valued at £60, from the Wilkinson store in Bolton on January 24.

He was arrested two days later at the Debenhams store in Manchester while allegedly committing a similar offence.

Asad Khan, defending, said that Hankinson, of Kingsley Street, Halliwell, began his criminal life in the 1970s when he suffered a brain injury in a fall from a hotel window.

Mr Khan told the court: “From that moment onwards he has had this compulsion to steal.

“When he shoplifts he is almost on autopilot.

“He offers no excuses for these offences, only remorse and apologies.”

Magistrates heard that Hankinson has previously received prison sentences and conditional discharges, but they have not stopped his behaviour.

He also has convictions for violence, sexual offences, crimes against property, drug offences and other miscellaneous crimes.

Yesterday magistrates sentenced him to remain in the court building until the end of the day and advised that he seek help for his problems.

  • In 2012, the most convicted offender in England and Wales had been convicted of 567 crimes, and a criminal with 399 offences on his record was in second place.