Hartlepool Marina monkey.
Hartlepool Marina monkey.

A JUNKIE with 222 offences to his name tried to steal hospice cash from a marina landmark to buy himself a “tenner bag of heroin”.

Kevin Davies was high on a cocktail of drugs and booze when he climbed a fence and brazenly tried to snatch charity cash from the brass monkey in Hartlepool Marina.

All cash collected from wished made by marina visitors goes to help the sick and dying at Hartlepool & District Hospice.

The 41-year-old criminal was caught in the act by a lock worker and admitted his callous crime,
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guilty to the crime.

Today Davies was branded “despicable” by the hospice charity, who give every penny from the outdoor fundraiser to people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

A spokesman said: “I think it’s despicable that anyone would think of taking money from a charity collection box, inside or outside, as our monkey is on the Marina.

“It’s a fantastic fundraiser for the hospice and it’s really bad that someone would try to do this. The money there is money that goes to patients who really need it.”

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told that Davies spied the monkey monument, which is suspended on a pole over water near to the lock office, as he was riding past on a bike in the early hours of the morning.

The 41-year-old was seen by an eagle-eyed lock worker bending over the fence to look into fundraising monkey, before pedalling off.

But he returned just minutes later and climbed the fence so his whole body was hanging over the water as he leaned across to steal the charity cash.

The suspicious lock worker saw what was about to happen, challenged Davies and shone a torchlight into his face, before the crook quickly jumped back over the barrier and ran away.

He was later found by police hiding in some bushes.

Prosecuting Rachel Dodsworth told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court: “It was 2.30am on Thursday when Davies, on a silver mountain bike, approached the brass monkey which is suspended over water on a large metal pole on Hartlepool Marina situated behind a 3ft fence.

“The monkey contains various coins and loose change thrown in by members of the public which is then collected by the lock office and donated to the charity.

“Davies was observed by a Marina operative looking over the fence and into the monkey. He then cycled away from it and round the back of the lock office but unbeknown to him, he was followed by the lock worker.

“He was seen sitting on his bike before he walked back to the front of the lock office where he climbed the fence, with his whole body on the water’s side.

“The lock worker saw him and challenged him. He climbed back over the fence and made off, leaving his bike at the scene.”

He added: “In police interview he said he’d gone to the Marina at that time on his bike due to him taking drugs and drink, and he couldn’t sleep.

“He had been smoking and injecting heroin.

“He said he’d intended to get over the railing to get the money so he could buy a tenner bag of heroin.”

Davies, of Uppingham Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to attempted theft from the monkey on January 24.

Mitigating, John Relton said: “This offence was borne out of a consumption of alcohol and drugs.”

He told justices that his client’s offending had slowed down as he had not committed an offence of dishonesty since last May.”

Chairman of the bench Anthony Raine adjourned sentencing Davies until February 8 for the Probation Service to carry out a pre-sentence report.

He released the defendant, of Uppingham Street, Hartlepool, on bail.