Teen addict stole £2k from dad to pay drug debt

A teenager addicted to the illegal high Spice stole more than £2,000 from his dad to pay off a drug debt.

Saturday, 24th September 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:31 pm

Wigan magistrates heard that Lewis King, 18, had been hooked on the recently outlawed synthetic cannabinoid for around 12 months.

He had been kicked out of his family home on Leopold Street, Pemberton, as a result but had been allowed back by parents for a while when he stole £2,090 in cash from his dad Jason’s wallet.

Jiro Asafa, prosecuting, said: “The defendant’s addiction has caused numerous problems resulting in him being kicked out of the family address. But recently he had been doing better and his family had allowed him to return.

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“They were watching him constantly to monitor him. His father had taken him to work with him and had £2,390 in cash on him.

“He gave around £300 to his other child, putting just over £2,000 in his wallet. When they returned to the home address, he placed the wallet behind a wine rack out of view.

“Father and son were both in and out of the property but his mother was in the whole time. She reported that he was acting suspiciously and had wanted his mum to leave the room. When they looked, the wallet had gone. They checked the property and found the wallet upstairs in a bedroom but it was empty.

“The defendant was arrested and interviewed and made a full admission. He accepted taking the wallet and the money. He said he had built up a great number of drug debts and he had used the money to pay off those debts.”

The court heard that King had been addicted to Spice for about 12 months – long before it and other previously so-called legal highs had been banned in April this year.

The hearing was told he had five convictions for seven offences, all but one of which from the last year. He received a curfew as part of a community order for an affray offence in July, which he has now breached as a result of the theft because he parents will no longer let him stay with them.

Andrea Woods, defending, said: “It was maybe not the most appropriate sentence given the problems and the trust issues with him residing there.

“There has been a problem for sometime with regards to drug misuse. Lewis has caused problems for his family and he was apologetic when interviewed by police and showed remorse to me.

“He had said he wanted to take steps to address his drug issues which is why his parents let him back but unfortunately there are still issues.

“He did have quite a hefty drug debt which was not known to his parents and is what he used the £2,000 to clear because he had been receiving threats. He had been doing particularly well, he had been going to his unpaid work and had actually been approached by someone who had seen how hard he was working and offered him a job.

“He had been celebrating securing employment and had text his grandmother on Thursday telling her how excited he was. He also asked her to come with him to buy his parents a present to thank them. Unfortunately on Friday he took the money to pay his drug debt and he is back to square one. ”

The court heard that although there is no treatment for an addiction to Spice, as there is with other drugs for example heroin, a team could work with King to establish and treat the psychological reasons behind his addiction.

King was given a 24-week jail term suspended for 12 months with a four-month drug rehabilitation requirement, a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 40 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £115.