Jail for drug addict who raided hospital cafe

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A HEROIN addict who raided a hospital’s volunteer-run cafe to fund his habit and pay off debts to dealers has been locked up for 25 weeks.

Pennine magistrates heard how Anthony Christopher White, who has almost 50 convictions for theft, carried out a spree of crime to pay for his £30 a day drug use.

On June 3rd, he had gone behind the counter at the WRVS (Women’s Royal Voluntary Service) Cafe at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and helped himself to almost £3,000. He also carried out five sneak-in burglaries at premises, stealing purses and money.

The hearing was told how White was said to have been introduced to drugs because of his mother’s long-term addiction and according to his solicitor, her house on West Street, Nelson, where he formerly lived, had dealers and users in and out every day.

White (29), more recently of no fixed address, had admitted burglary, handling stolen goods, theft of £15 worth of razors from Nelson Boots on May 21st and breaching a community order by not complying with a curfew. He asked for five offences of burglary in the Lancaster area - usually in staff rooms and including at a college, an art gallery and a Quakers’ Meeting House - to be considered.

The hearing was told the defendant took more than £2,900 from the hospital cafe. When he was arrested, he told police he had been homeless, had no income and had a £30 a day heroin habit.

Mr David Lawson, for White, said he had 46 previous convictions for theft between 1997 and 2011 and his background was a “very, very, sorry tale.”

The defendant’s mother had had a long-standing drug addiction and he was introduced to heroin because of the consequences of that. He had gone to Lancaster, committed the offences and then returned to Nelson and paid off his drugs debt.

Mr Lawson said White had told him he wanted help with his drugs and accommodation issues and wished to conquer his addiction. In 2007, he had been sent to prison for 30 days for burglary and after that remained offence-free for three years. “He has shown in the past he can keep out of trouble,” said Mr Lawson.

The solicitor told the court White had always pleaded guilty and co-operated with police when he was interviewed. His mother had not wanted him to be on a curfew at her home. Mr Lawson continued: “She has drug dealers and drug users attending the property every day.”