Prolific Burnley thief stole settee from town centre charity shop

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A prolific criminal found with a knife also stole a settee belonging to the British Heart Foundation, a court heard.

Wayne Sawley, who has more than 100 offences behind him, was discovered on a "child's bike" with several carrier bags, in a rear alley in Burnley. He had the 10-inch blade, along with a screwdriver, balaclava and gloves and was arrested.

The town's magistrates were told how six days later, the 42-year-old was seen wheeling what appeared to be a new sofa and claimed he found it in a skip. It had been pinched from a secure compound at the bank of the charity shop.

Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, told the hearing the defendant told police his mate had given him the knife. She continued: "He said it had been in a carrier bag and didn't believe it was an offence, as it was not in public."

The prosecutor said police asked the defendant if he had permission to take the settee and was told he couldn't just help himself. He replied: "I will go and take it back then tomorrow."

Mrs Yates said Sawley was questioned and claimed he found the couch in a ginnel near the skip and presumed it was going to be thrown away. She added: "He said he intended using it for personal use and at no time did he enter the compound. He regretted his actions."

Mr Dylan Bradshaw, defending, said Sawley was often on a bike with carrier bags and was "quite an odd sight". He went round foraging, looking for discarded property.

The defendant had had long -standing difficulties with substances of various types. Mr Bradshaw continued: "I must say he looks much better these days than he has looked in the past. He looked half-dead in the past and was barely awake."

Sawley, of Dall Street, Burnley, admitted possessing a knife on Linden Street in the town, on March 20th and theft by finding on March 26th. He will be sentenced by Blackburn magistrates on April 23rd.