Thief steals jetwash from Wigan McDonald’s ... then ditches it because it's too heavy to carry

A brazen thief walked into a town centre fast-food chain and stole a jet washer worth more than £600, before ditching it in a bush after deciding it was too heavy to carry.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 4:24 pm
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

James Gerrard walked out of McDonald’s in Standishgate with the machine, taking an employee’s jacket to boot, in a bid to make a quick buck to buy drugs.

But he was just yards away when he decided it would be difficult to carry the jet washer any further, and threw it in a bush.

The 47-year-old, of Grenfell Close in Worsley Mesnes, was later tracked down by the police and was hauled before magistrates at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse the following day.

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It was early on Monday August 26 when employees at the town centre eatery noticed the jet washer, used to scrub the floors clean, was missing.

The store’s CCTV was reviewed, and had captured Gerrard walking into the shop around 5.30am, walking into the storage area at the rear of the premises, and taking the machine.

Police officers who were called to review the footage instantly recognised Gerrard, having seen him walking around Wigan town centre earlier, and were quick to apprehend him in the vicinity.

He was taken to the police station where he gave answered “no comment” to all questions put to him, but later revealed what had happened.

The jet washer was not in the bushes by the time the police went to retrieve it, the court heard.

Defending, Peter Moran, told the bench that the theft was “a spur of the moment decision” that was not premeditated.

He was given a 12-month community order, comprising a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and a 10-day rehabilitation activity requirement. He is also subject to a 12-week curfew from 7pm-7am, and must pay £647 compensation to McDonald’s.