A drug addict who stole from woman in Bristol church is spared jail

| May 5, 2010

A DRUG addict who stole from a woman as she took Holy Communion has been spared prison.

Ricky Green had only been out of jail for weeks when he stole the church-goer's handbag on Good Friday.

It was one of four drug-fuelled offences he committed since he was released in February, adding to his previous 34 convictions for theft.

But Bristol magistrates said they would give him "one last chance" when he appeared in court for his latest sentencing yesterday.

To add insult to injury, he won't have to pay £200 compensation to the lady whose handbag was taken because the Crown Prosecution

Service said it didn't have her address.

Green, 26 of North Street in Bedminster, was given an 18-month community order, with a supervision requirement and a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

He will have to pay £70 compensation to one of his other victims and £130 to the third.

Green previously pleaded guilty to two thefts and asked for two more to be taken into consideration, including the church incident.

The first offence was on March 7 outside Easton leisure centre, when he took a CD stereo worth £70 from a Peugeot 106.

On March 20, he stole a Garmin satellite navigation system and car stereo worth £130 belonging to Grzegorz Fabiyanski, from a Fiat Pinto in Easton.

Twelve days later he took the handbag from church, and on April 11 he attempted to steal items belonging to Kate Thomas from a Fiat Panda in Prewett Street.

Green already has an anti-social behaviour order banning him from his former home in Portishead.

He admitted the church theft while in custody for the other matters after seeing an Evening Post front page showing a CCTV image of him.

Laura Opie, prosecuting, said: "At 8.30pm on April 11, a witness saw the defendant by the door of a Fiat.

"He appeared to be having trouble with it, but got inside and searched the glovebox with a torch.

"He was forensically linked to the Peugeot theft by his DNA, and blood was found on the stereo of the Pinto.

"He tested positive for cocaine and opiates."

Green had been in trouble with the law from a young age, largely due to his addiction to hard drugs, the court heard.

Richard Nile, defending, said: "Mr Green is still a relatively young age, despite having accumulated a significant list of offences.

"He came here of his own accord having heard Bristol has a higher rate of rehabilitation. He was released from prison in February but hadn't received any help with his addiction and unfortunately he returned to these offences of dishonesty.

"The court may find the church offence is the most serious, but it is not untypical for someone who has reached rock bottom. Perhaps one has to hit rock bottom before one realises how despicable their behaviour is as a motivation for change."

Passing sentence, magistrate Ian Abraham said: "Think of this as your last chance, don't waste it.

"Work with this, and it isn't easy, or the option is prison."

Speaking after the hearing, Redcliffe's beat manger PC Nick King said he wanted to thank Evening Post readers for their help identifying the church thief.

He said: "I know the victim suffered a loss, she had to have her locks changed and travel to London to change her work pass.

"It upset her, especially over the Easter weekend."

 

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