Heroin addict stuffed chocolate down his trousers

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A “desperate” heroin addict with a £50-a-day habit needed urgent treatment, as he was injecting drugs into his groin, a court heard.

Jonathan Devlin (37) had gone out shoplifting to raise cash to feed his craving, stuffing 20 chocolate bars down his trousers in one store.

He told police he had sold them to buy drugs as he was feeling low.

Burnley magistrates were told how jobless Devlin was currently not receiving any help for his addiction and couldn’t control it. He was using four to five bags of heroin a day and had been desperate to get money.

A probation officer told the hearing: “He needs immediate attention from the community drugs team.”

The defendant, of Palmerston Street, Padiham, admitted stealing the chocolate bars, worth £19.80 from the 99p store on April 21st, stealing air fresheners worth £38 from Wilkinsons, on April 29th and breaching a conditional discharge imposed in March after he took aftershave worth £50 from Boots. He asked for an offence of shop theft to be considered.

Devlin was given a six-month community order, with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement and a drugs rehabilitation requirement. He was fined £10 and ordered to pay £19.80 compensation and a £150 criminal court charge, which the justices had no choice but to impose and which is not means tested.

The Bench asked if Devlin could he offered an appointment with Inspire, the drugs treatment service, that afternoon, but was told he would probably receive one within two days or within one if the probation service pushed for it.

Mr Mark Williams (defending) said Devlin had a lengthy record, but it was not for shoplifting.

The solicitor continued: “He’s not been a shoplifter and it seems this spurt of offending is a direct result of the fact he has now got an addiction to heroin. It’s quite clear he needs help with that.”

Mr Williams said: “The offences are low level and unsophisticated. With the help he needs, the shoplifting should stop.”

He added: “The manner in which he is using the drugs does put him in a risky position.”