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Magistrates allow trespassing takeaway thief 14 days to pay just £1 in compensation

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Merciful magistrates spared a desperate thief by only imposing a 12 month conditional discharge and they also allowed him 14 days to pay just £1 in compensation.

Liam Joshua Bennett, 24, got into Ripley Pizza and Kebab House, on Nottingham Road, Ripley, through an unlocked door and was tracked down after he was captured on CCTV, according to a Chesterfield magistrates’ court hearing on Wednesday, March 21.

Prosecuting solicitor Justine Claxton said: “The complainant runs and owns Ripley Pizza and Kebab House and on October 2 he went into the premises in the morning after leaving the night before.

“When he goes in it is evident there has been a disturbance and that someone’s been behind the counter. Having looked at CCTV he sees a white male, 5ft 10ins tall, with blond hair, wearing a tracksuit going in and out of the door four times.”

The complainant claimed he could see the offender on the footage taking a bottle of soft drink- worth £1 - and he claimed £40 was missing from the till.

Ms Claxton added that it was not clear if the defendant had broken into the till or not but he was also identified by finger prints found on two pieces of paper next to the till.

Bennett, formerly of Gadsby Rise, Nether Heage, Belper, initially denied any offending but after he had been presented with the evidence he said he had been kicked out of his mum’s address and he had been living rough.

He added that he had found the takeaway door was unlocked and he went into the property.

Bennett, now of Howitt Street, Heanor, pleaded guilty to entering a building as a trespasser and accepted stealing a £1 soft drink but he does not accept that he took £40 in cash.

Defence solicitor Nicola Gray said that at the time of the offence, Bennett was homeless but he is now in supported accommodation and he is addressing his mental health and drug issues.

Magistrates sentenced Bennett to a 12 month conditional discharge but warned that if he commits another offence in the next year he will be re-sentenced for the trespassing matter.

They also spared Bennett from having to pay any costs or a victim surcharge and gave him 14 days to pay just £1 in compensation.