'Prolific offender' stole £1 from Christmas lights donation box

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street

Richard Florian was sentenced at Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A "prolific offender" stole £1 from a charity box outside a Bury St Edmunds home which had been decorated with Christmas lights.

Richard Florian, of Northgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, was seen outside the home at around 8.30pm on New Year's Eve in 2020, Suffolk Magistrates' Court heard. 

The homeowner heard a rattling sound and from the window saw Florian with the charity box, which was situated outside the house for donations for the festive light display. 

The man came out of the house to challenge Florian, Lucy Broughton, prosecuting, told the court. 

Florian initially tried to walk away but then gave the man 10p, Miss Broughton said. 

The man questioned Florian further about stealing money and he then gave the pound coin back. 

Appearing before magistrates in Ipswich on Monday, Florian pleaded guilty to theft.

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Florian also admitted three further theft from a shop offences. 

On September 30, 2020, Florian stole a bottle of wine, to the value of £6.50, from Tesco Express in Bury. 

The court heard that Florian went into the shop and concealed the bottle of wine under his coat before leaving the store without paying. 

The incident was captured on CCTV, Miss Broughton said. 

Florian was also caught stealing a bottle of chardonnay, valued at £6.49, from the Shell garage at Barton Mills on February 23, 2020, when he placed it inside his coat. 

He stole another bottle of Barefoot wine, worth £8.72, from the same garage on February 23, 2020. 

Miss Broughton told the court Florian is "heavy convicted" with 71 previous convictions for 210 offences. 

Claire Lockwood, mitigating, said all the offences were "connected to alcohol misuse". 

Miss Lockwood said Florian was engaging with services to combat his alcohol addiction. 

"He is willing and working with the local authority," she said. 

Miss Lockwood added that Florian had been in contact with rehabilitation charity Turning Point to attempt to "deal with his alcohol issues". 

Magistrates called Florian a "prolific offender" but recognised that he is beginning to engage with rehabilitation services. 

He was handed a day's detention for the offences and was released from custody on Monday.  

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