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Homeless man tried to get arrested to escape freezing weather, King’s Lynn magistrates hear

14:56 04 January 2013

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King's Lynn Magistrates' Court. Picture: Ian Burt.

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A homeless man who claimed to have committed crimes solely to escape the freezing weather has been sent to prison.

Donatas Bukys smashed a shop window and tried to steal alcohol from a Wisbech supermarket in a bid to get arrested, King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (Thursday).

The 28-year-old admitted shouting and swearing at the shop manager and a PCSO after he was challenged, later telling police he would rather be in a cell than on the streets in sub-zero temperatures.

Magistrates heard he was locked in the manager’s office and subdued with pepper spray when officers began to fear for their safety during the incident on December 12.

Bukys admitted criminal damage, attempted theft, breaching a conditional discharge and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to provoke or cause unlawful violence and was sentenced to nine weeks in prison.

Yvonne Neill, prosecuting, said Bukys was captured on CCTV cameras smashing a window at the Greggs bakery in Wisbech’s Horsefair shopping centre at about 4am on December 11.

The following day, he was caught with a bottle of rum worth £8.79 up his sleeve in the town’s Aldi store and grew very aggressive when challenged, the court heard.

Ms Neill said the shop manager believed Bukys had a knife and the PCSO at the scene was forced to press his emergency button to call police to the scene.

In a statement, the PCSO said he felt scared and was frightened that Bukys would stab him or the other man.

Ian Graham, mitigating, said temperatures were significantly below freezing around December 11 and 12 and Bukys smashed the window with a steel can so he would be arrested.

“He does not want to be homeless or committing offences,” Mr Graham told the bench.

“He just felt desperate at the time. Being in a prison cell was preferable to being on the street when it was very cold indeed.”

When he was not arrested for breaking the window, Bukys was caught for “similarly blatant offences” and readily admitted what he had done, the court heard.

Mr Graham said Bukys was one of a number of defendants who had appeared in court for offences committed solely to be arrested and escape the cold.

Bukys was also ordered to pay Greggs £100 compensation.

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