A shoplifter who targeted 10 Bolton town centre shops in over a single day claimed he “couldn’t remember” the string of thefts.

Sarfaraz Patel, 34, was already serving a suspended sentence for shoplifting, when he began his string of thefts on March 6 this year.

Bolton Crown Court hear how a police officer on patrol that day heard reports that Patel was stealing from shops in the town centre and headed to the Sainsbury's on Trinity Street.

Prosecutor Keira Shaw said: “Upon his arrival he saw the security guards detaining the defendant.”

Ms Shaw told the court how Patel, of Hazelhurst Close, Astley Bridge, had been stealing from the Trinity Street supermarket and was caught on camera targeting various other shops.

The Bolton News: Newport Street, Bolton town centreNewport Street, Bolton town centre (Image: Newsquest)

These included Poundland, Slaters, Saver, The Works, Superdrug and an ornamental zebra from the branch of Next at Trinity Retail Park.

He had also stolen from the Boots at Crompton Place four separate times and was already wanted for a separate incident when he had stolen from the same shop on February 19 this year.

Ms Shaw said that some of the stolen goods had since been returned by the police and by security guards.

But she reminded the court that Patel had been on crown court bail and was serving a suspended sentence for stealing from a branch of Farmfoods on Halliwell Road last November.

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Since then Patel, who has five previous convictions for eight offences, had shown “zero compliance” with the terms of his suspended sentence and had cut off his electronic tag.

Katie Walden, defending, said Patel was entitled to credit for having pleaded guilty and told the court he “couldn’t remember” what happened that day after drinking at a friend’s house.

She said: “All he remembers is waking up in the police van.”

Ms Walden told the court how Patel had been working two jobs and hoped eventually to go back to legitimate jobs.

She said: “He was earning money and he fell in with the wrong crowd.”

She added: “He’s lost his way, but he is truly remorseful for these offences.”

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Judge Jon Close accepted that Patel had earned credit for his guilty plea but said that the “sheer number of offences” were “what can only be described as a spree.”

He said that Patel’s crimes had shown a “pattern of the same types of offences all committed in short order.”

Addressing the defendant, he added: “In essence, you are a persistent thief.”

Judge Close jailed Patel for a total of 14 months and ordered he appear before the court again for discussion about a criminal behaviour order on Wednesday May 15.