A PROLIFIC thief used his children as a shield to carry out a spree of shoplifting offences, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
John Rogan stole a £200 chain saw from the Home Base store in Boston stashing it into the children's pushchair before calmly leaving the store without paying.
Abigail Joyce, prosecuting, said that Rogan was identified after the theft was caught on the company's CCTV security system.
"The defendant and his partner and children went into the store. He took the chainsaw out of its packaging and put it into the push chair which he then pushed out of the store."
Rogan stole a £150 i-pad from another store using the same method and also stole a £500 i-phone from a third store.
After being arrested and bailed he went to steal a mobile phone from the T Mobile shop in Boston.
Miss Joyce said: "It was noted by staff that the mobile was missing from the display unit. It was reported to the police and when the CCTV was reviewed the defendant was seen to enter with two children and go to the mobile phone. He removed it and left without paying."
Rogan, 33, of Ingelow Avenue, Boston, admitted four charges of shoplifting committed on dates in March, April and June this year and asked for a further six similar offences to be taken into consideration. The total value of the goods stolen was £3,683.
He also admitted breach of a conditional discharge imposed for previous shoplifting offences and breach of bail.
He was jailed for 15 months.
Recorder Richard Hedley told him: "In respect of at least two of these offences you were using your children as a shield. Your offending is so serious that I am going to pass a sentence of imprisonment."
Liz Harte, defending, said Rogan had an eight year gap in his offending but resorted back to theft late last year when he needed cash to fund a drug habit.
"He had a relapse into serious heroin use.
"The resultant debt and circle of poverty which always accompanies such heavy drug use is what made him resort to shop theft."