Rooftop drama

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A PROLIFIC offender has been jailed after he was caught trying to steal lead to fund a drug habit which began when he was just nine years old.

Stephen McClarty, 22, was caught hiding from police patrols in Leigh in the early hours of May 6 after removing £400 worth of lead from the roof of Precision Time watch repairs.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how officers were called to the scene on Chapel Street at about 3.30am and saw the defending crouching down on the roof in a bid to evade capture.

Prosecutor Jayne Kearsley said that when McClarty realised he had been spotted he jumped down from the roof at the back of the building and scaled a rear wall into the gardens of an elderly persons’ care home.

He was arrested while hiding in the gardens.

In a police interview, McClarty claimed he had only gone out that night because he couldn’t sleep and had bumped into a man who had told him of a place he could go “grafting for lead”.

He told officers that he couldn’t remember what he had done on the roof, but admitted to having a long-standing methadone, crack cocaine and heroin habit. However, McClarty, of Chaucer Grove, Leigh, admitted a charge of attempted theft before Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Glenn Rigby, defending, argued that his client deserved credit for his candid police interview and his guilty plea.

Describing it as “an unsophisticated, low value offence”, he said that McClarty’s drug habit, which began when he was just nine-years-old, was the cause of his offending.

Magistrates handed McClarty a 16-week prison sentence, citing his “persistent offending” as the cause, as well as noting that this latest offence was in breach of a conditional discharge.