Sobering time for booze thief

Thief given three months to turn his life around.

A man with alcohol problems has been given three months to turn his life around after receiving a deferred sentence for stealing booze from shops in Honiton.

Mark Alberto Roberts, 20, of no fixed address, appeared in custody at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court last Friday, and pleaded guilty to three theft offences and an attempted burglary.

Prosecuting, David Barnes told the court the defendant was caught on CCTV stealing Carlsberg lager from the Co-operative Store in Lace Walk on July 23 after a customer reported the incident.

The items, worth �12, were not recovered.

On July 25 the defendant stole a bottle of Russian Standard Vodka, valued at �16.09, from the Co-operative, which was again not recovered.

He also made an attempt to break into Wine World, in High Street, by smashing the window in the early hours of August 4

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However, nothing appeared to be taken but �350 worth of damage was caused to the window.

Mr Barnes stated that on August 9 police officers were called to a further incident at Iceland in Lace Walk after Roberts had taken a bottle of rose wine and an eight-pack of lager, valued at �10.

A bag was recovered containing the items.

Mr Barnes reported that the defendant was found to be in possession of “ample funds” to pay for the items.

When the defendant was charged he said “My doctor told me I need to drink otherwise I will have fits” and made full admissions to police when interviewed.

Defending, Peter Woodley explained that Roberts had undergone a difficult and unfortunate set of circumstances and had been out of trouble since 2009.

He told the court the defendant had been in a long-term relationship which had come to an end after Roberts caught his girlfriend with another man. He had since moved out of the couple’s home.

Mr Woodley also said that during the theft at Iceland the defendant had got his Giro payment following the incident, which was why he was found with the funds by police.

He added: “He is getting help with his drinking.”

The chairman of the bench, Gloria Williams, said: “We are going to give you an opportunity to prove to us that you can keep out of trouble.”

She added: “You need to make some big changes in your life. This is an opportunity to demonstrate you are going to do that and you are on the right path.

“It is in your interest to keep yourself out of trouble and try to get a grip on the alcohol issues you have.”

Roberts will be sentenced at Central Devon Magistrates’ Court on November 7.