Former RAF pilot committed spate of thefts across Weston and Worle to fuel drug habit

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A former RAF pilot suffered ‘an extraordinary fall of grace’ when he committed a spate of ‘unsophisticated’ thefts to fuel a drug addiction he acquired in Weston.

Mark Pearson stole alcohol, clothing and perfume worth more than £5,000 from stores in Weston and Worle in August and September.

Pearson, aged 29 and of no fixed abode, stole high value Dior perfume from Worle High Street's Boots store worth £1,795 on August 15.

In total, he was charged with six counts of shop lifting, including in supermarkets Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's where he took items such as alcohol, clothes and food, which totalled £5,415.50.

Pearson was in the RAF for two years but left the air force after splitting up with his long-term partner.

Gregory Gordon, defending, said Pearson was 'a high achiever' who lost his job as a command flight officer due to 'a number of personal reasons'.

He said: "This was a way to get income to fuel a drug addiction, drugs have had some debilitating effect on him.

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"Pearson has suffered an extraordinary fall from grace, in 2017 he was in the air force as a command flight officer but left for a number of personal issues, his break up had a profound effect on him and it was quickly followed by his father passing away from cancer.

"He returned to Weston and did not find it hard to source crack cocaine and found himself amongst people who used drugs and was stealing in order to fund his habit.

"Pearson is a high achiever who got good A-levels and a high-level diploma, he was in the early stages of what could have become a long-term addiction but he has been clean for one month now."

Judge James Newton-Price said Pearson's shop lifting spree was 'not particularly sophisticated'.

He said: "The striking feature of this to me is the spate of shop lifting is all quite recent.

"There is some degree of planning but this was not particularly sophisticated."

Pearson received a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, on October 4 at Bristol Crown Court.

The 29-year-old was also made the subject of a six-month curfew and drug rehabilitation programme and must complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.