Ipswich: Criminal with 111 offences spared jail to complete drug rehab

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A criminal with 111 offences to his name has been spared jail to give him the chance of kicking his drug addiction.

Gregory Branaghan, of Marigold Close, Ipswich, admitted trying to steal an £800 bicycle while under an eight-month suspended prison term imposed three months earlier. Attached to the suspended sentence was a drug rehabilitation requirement.

However, at the 38-year-old’s Ipswich Crown Court sentencing Recorder John Brooke-Smith said if he chose to implement the suspended sentence the drug rehab order could not continue.

The judge said reports showed there was the potential for Branaghan to make headway in addressing his substance misuse issues.

He added he felt it would be unjust to activate the suspended sentence. This was because Branaghan had been in custody since his latest offence and if keeping him locked up for another two months would bring his drug order it would not serve the long-term interests of Branaghan or the wider community.

As a result Recorder Brooke-Smith gave Branaghan a 12-month community order for the attempted bike theft. Attached to this was a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and supervision.

In addition Branaghan’s previous eight-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, was made more onerous by extending the suspension to 18 months.

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Earlier in the hearing prosecutor Gareth Hughes said Branaghan’s most recent offence occurred at Ipswich railway station on August 7 when he and another man were seen by police near the bicycle compound.

Branaghan was observed removing bolt croppers from a bag and attempting to cut the cable on the bike’s lock, before putting the croppers back in the bag.

Officers arrested Branaghan, but the man his was with made off and was never found.

The court was told Branaghan refused to give his accomplice’s name to police.

In the bag Branaghan had were large and small bolt croppers, cutters, and a variety of other tools.

Mr Hughes said Branaghan had 44 convictions for 111 offences.

He had received his suspended sentence on May 3 after breaking into the office of the Baptist church in St Margaret’s Plain, Ipswich.

A television, laptop, some chocolate and coins were taken. The haul was valued at £1,300.

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