Couple plead guilty to stealing poppy appeal box
A Worthing couple have pleaded guilty to stealing a poppy appeal charity box from a newsagent.
Arron Jones, 23, and Paige Craddock, 21, appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court today charged with stealing the charity box from Taylor’s Newsagents in South Street, Worthing on September 4.
The pair were also charged with stealing meat from Co-Op Stores in Worthing on November 12, and Craddock was separately charged with possessing cannabis.
Jones and Craddock, of Clarendon Road, Broadwater, pleaded guilty to all charges and were told to pay £150 and £110 respectively.
Gaynor Byng, prosecuting, told the court how Jones had stolen the charity box while Craddock acted as a lookout.
Jones was ‘very embarrassed’ when he was shown CCTV footage of the incident, she told the court.
The prosecutor reported that Craddock had told a police officer that ‘other people have needs too’, when asked why she helped steal the charity box.
Representing Jones, Miss Reeby told the court ‘the last few months have been very difficult for him.’
Jones, who she says suffers from ADHD, anxiety and depression, became addicted to heroin and it was this that drove him to steal the charity box, his defense told the magistrate.
“He felt sorry and embarrassed,” she said, reporting that Jones was no longer using heroin and was receiving treatment.
The theft of the meat from the Co-Op stores was so the pair, who were homeless, could eat, Miss Reeby told the court.
Representing Craddock, Mr Frank said she had ‘expressed her remorse’.
“At the time of the theft of the charity box she was a heroin addict and at the time of the theft of the meat it was to have something to eat,” he said.
“They had no money whatsoever,” he added.
He told the court that Craddock has been homeless for three years and has mental health difficulties but no longer uses heroin.
The couple are staying with friends until they can find social housing.
Jones was fined £120 for the two thefts and ordered to pay a surcharge of £30.
Craddock was fined £80 for the two thefts and ordered to pay a surcharge of £30. She faced no separate penalty for the cannabis possession.
A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion said the charity was both ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’ to hear of the theft of the poppy collecting tin over the Remembrance period.
“The loss deprives those in the service and ex-service community and their families of much needed assistance and support from the Legion,” the spokesperson added.
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