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Jail for addict who broke in to church

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

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A LISKEARD vicar has spoken of his frustration after the town's Wesley Methodist Church was targeted by thieves.

Although no items were taken, rooms in the church were searched and damaged by Liskeard man Daniel Crago on Wednesday.

Crago also stole nurses' handbags during a burglary at a residential home, the court heard.

The 41-year-old, of Oak Park Terrace, who has 43 previous convictions for 152 offences, admitted burglary and burglary with intent to steal when he appeared before Bodmin Magistrates' Court in custody on Friday – and was jailed for 30 weeks.

The Reverend Mark Pengelly, of Wesley Methodist Church, reported the break-in. An internal door had been smashed and entry gained into an office but nothing was taken.

Reverend Pengelly said: "We had somebody try to break in to the church office on Tuesday – nothing was taken.

"A door was smashed and there was damage inside to several rooms but we don't keep money there.

"It's frustrating this kind of thing is happening – it took time and effort to straighten out the door."

Crago was later identified as the culprit after he was spotted on CCTV inside the church.

He was looking for somewhere to sleep when he went into the church, the court heard.

His solicitor, Chris Andrews, said Crago's life had been "blighted by heroin".

Jane Wills, for the prosecution, explained that the Beech Lawn Residential Home on Higher Lux Street was a large home for 44 elderly residents, staffed 24 hours a day. After 8pm the doors were secured with an alarm.

In the early hours of March 1 three female nursing staff returned from a break to find that two of their handbags, cash and contents had been stolen from an activities room. No alarm had sounded but police later found that the building had been entered through a window in the matron's office.

There was a footprint on the desk and DNA analysis of a cigarette butt at the scene showed it was linked to Crago.

The staff whose bags were stolen made statements detailing the costs and inconvenience it had caused them to cancel and replace items taken, including bank cards, driving licences and keys. One said that she now feared identity theft.

Jailing Crago, chairman of the bench David Stevens told him: "I've seen you before – it's very sad. There's only one person who can sort this situation out and that's you. You are on a downward spiral.

"This was a residential home where people were working and leaving their belongings in a place which they thought was safe."

Mrs Wills said that Crago had a particularly lengthy record of offences – mostly involving dishonesty – and had been jailed for six months in December for a similar matter.

Crago also admitted that the March offences put him in breach of a two-year conditional discharge imposed last month for theft.

Mr Andrews, for the defence, said Crago had been addicted to heroin since his teens and following his release from prison on February 6 he had been living a chaotic lifestyle without stable accommodation or benefits. He had been receiving methadone on prescription but was topping that up with street drugs and legal highs.

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  • josdave  |  March 19 2014, 1:15PM

    With his record 30 weeks out in less is just the usual slap on the wrist.

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  • 666bobgem666  |  March 19 2014, 12:09PM

    I was one of the Nurses on duty that night and we were attending residents in another part of the building at the time of break in. Inaccurate reporting on behalf of the cornish guardian.

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