Drug-taking car thief caught on CCTV

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A car crook who targeted two vehicles whilst while under the influence of Valium was caught both times on CCTV, a court heard.

Stephen James Essex (35), who has a long record, struck in Clitheroe, where he stole a £250 sat. nav. and then made an "untidy search" of another vehicle. Essex was identified from CCTV footage by a police officer and owned up.

Burnley magistrates were told how Essex, who was jailed last November, had been on a methadone prescription, but had been unable to get by on just that.

Mrs Philippa White, prosecuting, said one victim approached a neighbour who had CCTV and it showed a man entering his car and making off at about 4-40am.

On a nearby street, the second victim found her car had been searched and saw the culprit on her own CCTV system. The defendant was arrested and said he was under the was influence of Valium, but accepted his guilt.

Mr Mark Williams, defending, said Essex did have a bad record but had been out of trouble for over six months. He put that down to the fact he had accommodation, benefits in place, was working with Inspire (the drug treatment service) and was on a methadone prescription.

The solicitor continued: "The methadone prescription has not perhaps held him at an appropriate level and he has been taking street drugs. He said he had taken some Valium on top of methadone."

Mr Williams said: "He is very disappointed in himself. He has not been able to make do on methadone. He really needs some help with drugs." The solicitor added: "The defendant made full admissions during the course of his interview."

Essex, of Gordon Street, Burnley, admitted theft from a vehicle and vehicle interference on June 24. He was given a six -month community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement and must pay £250 compensation.