Father-to-be admits stealing Sir Bobby tributes

A 21-YEAR-OLD father-to-be has admitted stealing tributes from the Sir Bobby Robson memorial site.

Naomi Cassidy

A 21-YEAR-OLD father-to-be has admitted stealing tributes from the Sir Bobby Robson memorial site.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday Jamie Underwood, of Burrell Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to theft from the site in Portman Road on August 15.

Underwood was seen by a member of the public with a large quantity of football shirts and memorabilia near the Station Hotel in Burrell Road at around 3am and appeared to be staggering.

When police approached to question him about the shirts, he told them a friend had sold them to him. However, officers then spotted several messages attached to the shirts in tribute to the former Ipswich Town manager, who died earlier this month, and concluded he had taken them from the shrine.

Following Sir Bobby's death from cancer, many Ipswich Town fans left shirts, scarves and other memorabilia at his statue outside the stadium.

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Prosecuting, Corrinne Gook-Hurren, said: “Police saw him with a large quantity of football shirts, which he was proceeding to drop along the road. Officers thought he was drunk. They asked him where he got them from and he said a mate had sold them to him. They saw a message on one of the shirts, which read 'RIP Sir Bobby. Thanks for the memories.”

Officers carried out a search in the local area and recovered other items that had been taken from the memorial, including a Newcastle United top, with a message on it, stating: 'There is only one Bobby Robson'.

In total, 28 shirts, an England flag and a football scarf were recovered. Underwood was arrested and he made full admissions to the thefts in the interview with police.

Mitigating on Underwood's behalf, Elizabeth Bradshaw, said he did not remember committing these thefts but genuinely regrets it.

She said: “He had drunk a large amount of alcohol on the day in question. He does not remember taking the items but accepts he must have. He genuinely regrets it. He is making a genuine effort to stay out of trouble. He is expecting a daughter in five weeks.”

His case was adjourned until September 14 for a pre-sentence report to be done.

Anne Walker, chairwoman of the magistrates' bench, told him magistrates would consider imposing a community order and/or unpaid work with a suspended prison sentence.

She said: “This is a highly emotive local issue.”