Shameless thief stole from pal

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A SHAMELESS thief stole more than £750 worth of electrical items from one of his friends on Christmas Day.

Bradley Leach, 25, abused pal Neil Grady’s trust by stealing his laptop computer and mobile phone on December 25 - before locking the victim out of his own house.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how Leach and Mr Grady had been spending Christmas evening together with mutual friends when the defendant asked if he could go back to Mr Grady’s house for a sleep.

Katie McFarlane, prosecuting, told how Mr Grady agreed to give Leach a set of keys before heading back home at about 12.30am on Boxing Day - an hour and a half later. But when he arrived home, he could not get inside because Leach had secured the door.

Mr Grady and a neighbour then headed to the back of the property and found that a kitchen window, which had previously been secured, had been left wide open.

Mr Grady’s neighbour squeezed through the open window but there was no sign of the defendant.

A subsequent search of the house revealed that Mr Grady’s Dell laptop computer and Samsung mobile phone were both missing, as were the entire contents of his fridge.

The key that Mr Grady had lent to Leach had been left on the kitchen worktop.

Mr Grady told police that, although he had only known Leach for a week, he was “shocked” to discover that the defendant had stolen from him. He added that the Christmas Day theft made him feel “sick” and “as if I had been punched in the stomach”.

After selling the stolen laptop on to an associate, Leach called police from a telephone box before waiting there to hand himself in. He tested positive for cocaine on his arrival at the police station and made a full admission to the theft. He subsequently admitted the theft of the mobile phone and food too.

Colin Rawson, defending Leach, said his client had not troubled the courts since a nine-month jail sentence in 2010.

He argued that Leach, formerly of Coniston Avenue, Ince, now had some stability in his life after moving in with his uncle and aunt in Highfield Road North, Chorley, and a curfew and community order could suffice.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until January 25, pending reports. Leach’s bail was extended.