Wigan drink and drug addict's shame at stealing charity boxes

A Cancer Research charity box
A Cancer Research charity box

A Wigan man has been ordered to pay compensation to two charities after stealing collection boxes from a takeaway.

Darren Kay, 38, was caught on CCTV taking the tins from Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Scholes on June 27.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard the owner noticed they had gone at around 2pm and checked the CCTV footage.

It showed a man entering the shop twice in 20 minutes and taking the boxes.

While the takeaway was not open for business at the time, the door had been left open due to the heat.

Police were called and both the owner and officers recognised Kay, Beth Pilling, prosecuting, said.

A victim impact statement from the shop’s owner was read to the court, stating he was “very disappointed” that they had been taken.

The boxes contained around £100, donated from tips and extra change from customers for Cancer Research UK and Disabilities.

Miss Pilling said Kay had a lengthy record, with 62 convictions, and was subject to two community orders at the time of the offence.

Kay, who lives in Scholes, pleaded guilty to stealing the boxes.

Melissa Fagan, defending, said Kay had suffered from mental health issues since finding his mother’s body when he was 18. She was a drug user and died from an overdose.

She said: “He tells me he himself was using drugs at that stage. However, for him it was not really the drugs that were the problem, he tells me he was drinking to excess.

“However, following the death of his mother at a young age, he never got to grips with the bereavement and the drug habit took control.”

Miss Fagan said it was coming to the anniversary of his mother’s death when he committed the theft. Kay has anxiety, depression and psychosis, and had been treated in hospital as an inpatient previously.

She said: “Given the nature of the offence, it was quite clearly ill thought-out by the defendant, perhaps reflective of his poor mental health at the time.

“He tells me he wasn’t in a good place. He was mulling over the death of his mother.

“The offence itself was unsophisticated.”

She pointed out that he was caught on CCTV and identified by the shop owner and police, as he was known in the area.

The officers had been to his home the previous week due to a suicide attempt, she said.

Miss Fagan said: “He himself is disappointed by what he has done. He has offended against a shop owner who knew him and he has offended against a charity.”

There were concerns his home was being used as a “doss house” by other people using his vulnerability, she said.

A probation officer told the court that Kay was already subject to two community orders and had last seen his offender manager on July 17,

His methadone prescription had been increased, his home was in a poor state with radiators pulled off walls and doors off hinges, and other people were there.

Magistrates decided to revoke the two existing community orders and impose a new sentence.

Kay was jailed for eight weeks, suspended for 12 months, and must comply with a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and 20 rehabilitation activity days.

He must also pay £100 compensation to the charities.