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Nicholas Owen ate his stolen loot from the Co-op in St Austell

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 11, 2014

A PERSISTENT shoplifter who told police he ate meat stolen from the Co-op in St Austell for his Christmas lunch has been sent to prison for 12 weeks by magistrates.

Heroin user Nicholas Owen, 42, was jailed for a series of dishonesty offences when he appeared before Bodmin magistrates in custody, having admitted stealing goods worth an estimated £326 from the Slades Road Co-op on December 20 and possessing 0.2g of heroin on December 30.

The offences were committed while Owen, of Truro Road, St Austell, was on bail awaiting sentencing for three thefts in October, which he had previously admitted.

The magistrates said they were jailing Owen because of his persistent offending, related to a drug addiction, and the Probation Service's doubts about his commitment to drug rehabilitation.

The court heard Owen had been jailed in August for six offences of theft from shops, and released in October.

Gail Hawkley, for the prosecution, said that on October 10 he had stolen meat and coffee to the value of £65.29 from the Co-op and just over a week later, on October 18, had taken Lego, a cookbook and a chocolate orange valued at £77.75 from WH Smith and skincare products and perfume worth £130 from Boots.

Interviewed about those offences, he said he had little recollection of them as he had drunk three litres of cider, taken a £10 hit of heroin and seven diazepam tablets.

Five days before Christmas Owen had again gone into the Co-op, this time with a female, and been caught on CCTV putting items into a holdall and leaving without paying. Police seeking him for that theft spotted him on Moorland Road on December 30 and Owen handed over the wrap of heroin.

In an interview, Owen fully admitted the wrap was his and contained heroin. He initially denied stealing from the Co-op but then said that if there was CCTV evidence it must have been him and that he had eaten some of the meat for his Christmas lunch. William Hazelton, for the defence, said Owen had previously been given an indication that he might be suitable for a drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) and urged the magistrates to allow him to address his problems.

However, probation officer Mark Swann said that Owen had failed to attend a probation appointment and his commitment was in doubt.

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