Solicitor asks magistrates to send Wigan thief to jail

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse
Wigan and Leigh Courthouse

A drug addict stole a huge haul of chocolate in a bid to get sent back to prison.

Homeless Wayne Dillon took a reusable shopping bag to Tesco Express, on Bolton Road, Ashton, on June 29 and filled it with confectionery.

Staff detained him as he tried to leave and he started to cry, Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court was told.

The 39-year-old told a probation officer he had taken more chocolate than he needed as he wanted to go back into the system and get help.

Defending, Nick Woosey said his client had problems with drugs and alcohol and had “hit rock bottom”.

He was sleeping on the streets, did not receive benefits and his health was suffering.

Mr Woosey said: “He says the only way he can make in-roads is with a prison sentence. It’s quite unusual for a defence solicitor to stand up and say ‘my client wants to go into custody’.”

Dillon pleaded guilty to the theft of confectionery worth £168.60 at an earlier hearing.

He also admitted failing to surrender after he did not attend court for sentencing on July 12. Mr Woosey said Dillon lost a letter given to him by the court and was not able to check the date of the hearing.

Kerry Grieve, prosecuting, said Dillon had 40 previous convictions for 78 offences, 40 of which were thefts or similar matters.

The probation officer told the court Dillon was spending £50 to £60 a day on heroin and crack - along with taking a methadone prescription - but it was not known how he funded his drug habit.

She said he was “completely driven by his addiction” and he hoped time in prison would curb his use of illicit drugs.

Chairman of the bench David Hendry questioned whether a custodial sentence was the best way to help Dillon.

But Dillon, speaking from the dock, said he thought prison was the best option for him and he did not believe he would be able to comply with a non-custodial sentence.

Magistrates spent some time deliberating before sentencing Dillon.

Mr Hendry said: “The case is unusual for all kinds of reasons, but we are minded that these offences have crossed the custody threshold.

He was jailed for six weeks each for the theft and bail offence, to run consecutively, while his outstanding financial account of £914 was lodged against a further two weeks in prison. Dillon must also pay a victim surcharge of £115.

Mr Hendry told him: “You have the bench’s support in engaging with probation and all those organisations that are set up to help you when you come out, because if you don’t, you know what’s going to happen - you are going to keep bouncing back here and no-one wants that.

“You have a choice to make. You don’t want this for your life.”