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Wigan crook jailed after ripping off curfew tag to commit crimes

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A Wigan man who ripped off his monitoring tag to commit a series of thefts has been put behind bars.

Thomas Stewart removed the device which was checking his adherence to a curfew, before stealing a bicycle, designer sunglasses and a laptop charger.

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He had been on bail after being charged with stealing over £2,300 worth of power tools in July.

Appearing at Wigan Magistrates’ Court, the 22-year-old of City Road, Kitt Green, pleaded guilty to three thefts and the bail breach.

The court heard how Stewart was finally apprehended when police were called to reports of a burglary in Ashton on August 5. Officers detained the culprit on nearby Bolton Road. He was wearing Armani sunglasses and had a laptop charger cable with him - items which he had just stolen.

He admitted he was on bail for previous offences and had torn off his ankle tag to go out unmonitored.

A week earlier Stewart had stolen a bicycle worth £525 from outside a property. After finding out who had stolen it, the victim went to Stewart’s home and demanded his bike back, discovering some parts of it in the garden.

The original offence for which Stewart had been bailed took place in July, when he broke into a locksmith’s van to steal power tools valued at £2,310.

Defending, solicitor Bill Pearson said that while a spell in prison was unavoidable, its length should be kept to a minimum as the stolen items were later recovered.

Mr Pearson said: “We are realistic about his position. We know custody is inevitable.”

In sentencing, the bench told Stewart that he had shown “flagrant disregard for other people’s property” and that the offences had been aggravated by the deliberate breach of his bail conditions.

For the theft from a motor vehicle, Stewart was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, and was given the same sentence for stealing the bicycle. He was also handed a 14-week term for stealing the power tools.

He must serve the terms consecutively, making a total of 38 weeks behind bars, and will pay a £115 victim surcharge upon his release.