66 year old fails to get ASBO overturned

8 April 2010, 17:18 | Updated: 8 April 2010, 18:11

Light-fingered Leo Lirette, 66, from Eastbourne, is nicknamed Fagin by his victims because of his straggly, bearded appearance and thieving ways.

He has notched up 59 convictions for 122 offences in a life of crime stretching back more than half a century.

Lirette first appeared before the courts in 1957 and spent most of the nineties in jail.

In January this year the notorious criminal, who has an IQ of just 77, was given an ASBO and banned from shops across his home town.

The stores, including seven charity shops, four supermarkets and a shopping centre, complained that he repeatedly stole goods, harassed female staff and used foul language.

 Lewes Crown Court heard that Lirette boasted he could sell stolen watches faster than the stores he pinched them from, and took pride in his ability to con others.

When approached by a photographer outside the court, he said: "That's a very expensive looking camera".

But Lirette said he has finally accepted that crime does not pay. He said: "It's not worth it anymore. They always catch me.

 "I promise I will behave from now on. I just get carried away."

 His defence counsel argued that the clueless crook, who suffered brain injuries falling drunk off a ladder in 1971, and who has an "organic personality disorder", was incapable of obeying the ASBO.

 But Judge Anthony Scott Gall dismissed the appeal. He said: "The appellant has a sad history. The court can feel nothing but sympathy for someone with his disabilities.

"But he also has a very, very extensive criminal record.

"His excuse seems to be 'I know I'm being naughty but I just can't stop myself, and that's just bad luck for anyone who crosses my path.'

"We are not persuaded that Mr Lirette is incapable of complying with a simple order."