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A DRUG addict thief who stole poppy tins across Solihull and Warwickshire has been jailed for 32 weeks.

Tyrone McDermott, 31, was caught on CCTV on November 12, distracting a cashier at Threshers store on Station Approach, Dorridge while he passed a British Legion collection tin to his accomplice, Solihull Magistrates heard last Friday.

Tyrone McDermott, 31, was caught on CCTV on November 12, distracting a cashier at Threshers store on Station Approach, Dorridge while he passed a British Legion collection tin to his accomplice, Solihull Magistrates heard last Friday.

This came just five days after stealing charity tins from the White Swan Hotel and One Stop shop in Henley-in-Arden and another premises at Waterside in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Prosecutor Siobhan Turner said McDermott, from Ward End, had a “lengthy” conviction history, with 76 offences of theft and dishonesty.

Charles Royle, defending, claimed his client had stolen the charity boxes to pay for his drug addiction which he was now addressing.

“He has, unfortunately, a long standing addition to Class A drugs. These thefts were to satisfy debts built up by that addiction,” added Mr Royle.

However, Chair of the Bench, magistrate Mike Gold, said the thefts were “so serious” they warranted jail and sentenced McDermott to eight weeks per charity box and to pay £50 compensation.

Pam Watson, Poppy Appeal organiser for the British Legion in Knowle and Dorridge, called the thefts “a slap in the face to the appeal”.

“It’s people’s hard-earned cash given to a charity and then being taken to feed someone else’s so-called needs.

“Despicable would be putting it politely.”

Speaking after sentencing Ms Watson said she would rather see thieves forced to help with the Legion’s next appeal than be sent behind bars.

“These people shouldn’t be languishing in jail, being fed, watered and having the easy option when they could be working for the community.”

 

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