11:00 Friday 07 February 2014

Homeless thief stole so he could go back behind bars

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

A HOMELESS man who was recently released from prison stole a bottle of vodka so he could go back behind bars, a court has been told.

Lee Murray told police he was ‘glad’ he got caught after taking the £12 drink from B&M Bargains in Burton, as he wanted to be arrested and have somewhere to live.

The 30-year-old, who was released from prison less than a month ago, got his wish yesterday, as he was jailed for four weeks after pleading guilty to theft on February 5.

Melanie Camm, defending, said: “On January 10, he was released from custody with nowhere to stay. Since then, he has been homeless and has been sleeping rough.

“He has tried to be proactive and is on the list for the YMCA, but it could be a few weeks. I would ask you to sentence him to an immediate custodial sentence.”

Murray was behind bars for breaking into the house of an elderly woman in Wellington Street, Burton, while she was away on holiday.

Burton Magistrates’ Court was told he had an ‘extensive’ record, and had been convicted 18 times for 28 offences.

On this occasion, he had not been acting alone. Co-defendant Stephen Matthews, 28, was also sentenced to four weeks behind bars, as a result of his own prolific record.

Paris Theodorou, defending, said Matthews, of Cotswold Road, Cannock, had been staying with friends in Burton and tried to steal two bottles of vodka to sell when he ran out of money.

Prosecutor Andrew Bodger told the bench the two men were seen on CCTV entering the shop, taking drink from the shelves and secreting them.

He added: “The security officer stopped Mr Matthews at the exit, and staff brought back Mr Murray. When he was arrested, Mr Murray said ’I’m glad, I’d do it every day if it got me somewhere to live. I took it and came back as I wanted to be arrested. He said he did it as he was homeless’.”

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