A Hartlepool man who found himself a stranger in a strange town after being released from prison was spared a further jail sentence after admitting a raid on a chip shop.
Philip Hewitson’s home in Hartlepool was vandalised and he was evicted while he was in jail, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.
About two weeks after being released he burgled a chip shop in Middlesbrough and stole sachets of sauce and a worker’s Christmas bonus money.
“It was a lunchtime,” said Alan Davison, prosecuting. “The premises were open but had been left unattended briefly by a member of staff who had gone next door to sort out a problem with a boiler.
“Upon his return he found someone had been behind the counter and had stolen sachets of sauce.
“Also missing was the staff members’s wallet which contained his Christmas bonus money from his boss of £176.
“The incident was captured on CCTV, and Hewitson was arrested after being identified by police.”
Hewitson, 26, of Borough Road, Middlesbrough, admitted burglary on December 23.
John Relton, defending, said: “Mr Hewitson has a poor record - I have known him for many years.
“When he was in prison the last time, his house was vandalised and he was evicted.
“He is a man of Hartlepool, but found himself released into what was for him a strange town among people he did not know.
“This was an opportunistic crime, there was no pre-planning.
“Drink and drugs is his problem, but there are signs he can turn himself around.
“He is a personable young man when not in drink or drugs, and the Probation Service say they are still prepared to work with him.
“It comes down to if he can be granted, I won’t say a final chance, but another chance.”
Hewitson was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, a drug treatment requirement of six months, 15 rehabilitation activity days, and he was ordered to pay £196.60 compensation.