Motability car used as getaway vehicle

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A SELF-confessed drug addict admitted using his estranged partner’s motability car as a getaway vehicle for two thefts.

Edward Berry pleaded guilty to both crimes - committed with an accomplice on consecutive days - and one attempted theft before Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told how the attempted theft took place on March 17 at the Sainsbury’s store in Marus Bridge.

A security officer noticed a large gap on the shelf where bottles of vodka were usually displayed, so decided to check the in-store CCTV.

When he did, he saw the defendant putting 10 bottles into a black plastic bag in a trolley before attempting to make off without paying.

When Berry, 47, was approached at the exit by the guard, he ran off into a waiting car and sped off without the goods.

Then, on May 24, an accomplice targeted a Co-op store at a Texaco garage in Leigh - stealing £98.43 worth of chocolate - before returning the following day to steal another £130.89 worth of chocolate, coffee and cheese.

On both occasions, CCTV footage showed the motability vehicle waiting outside as the getaway car.

In interview, he accepted that he was the man depicted in the CCTV images and said he had met his accomplice while “scoring drugs”.

He initially denied attempting to steal the alcohol from Sainsbury’s but pleaded guilty on his first appearance before court.

Melissa Fagin, defending, said her client was not a prolific offender and needed to retain permission to drive because he helped his estranged partner, who suffered from crippling arthritis.

Magistrates gave Berry, of Cherry Tree Drive, St Helens, a 12-month community order.

The order states he must undergo a period of supervision and complete a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

They also banned him from driving for three months and ordered him to pay court costs of £100 and a £60 victim surcharge.