Burglar who stole prison education tools faces longer wait for sentence

Jason Spearman appeared on video link from jail at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Jason Spearman appeared on video link from jail at Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

A burglar faces an extended wait in jail to discover his punishment for a spate of addiction fuelled break-ins – including stealing 20 laptops designed to help reform prisoners.

Jason Spearman was due to be sentenced on Thursday for a series of commercial burglaries carried out to feed a drug habit.

But magistrates sent the case up to the crown court after deciding their powers were insufficient.

Spearman stole the 20 secure Chromebook devices during one of three burglaries in Newmarket.

The 46-year-old also took charity boxes, cash and two dresses from a florist, before burgling a butcher.

Spearman, formerly of Silhalls Close, Ashley, Newmarket, admitted the burglaries at Suffolk Magistrates' Court last month.

In the meantime, while on remand at Norwich prison, he confessed to burgling Farthings dry cleaning and laundry service - where he stole a jar of money from a windowsill - and asked for the crime to be taken into consideration when sentenced.

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On June 16, Spearman broke into Coracle Online through a kitchen window and caused £1,415 of damage before stealing the laptops, worth more than £5,000.

On July 17, the owner of Bouquets of Newmarket found a back door damaged and paperwork on the floor, and six charity boxes, £75 in cash and two dresses worth £100 missing.

The next morning, the assistant manager of Powters butchers noticed cash tills removed, before finding someone had stolen two laptops worth more than £1,200 and meat valued at almost £400.

Spearman, who was jailed for five years in 2011 for seven burglaries, admitted the latest break-ins when interviewed by police, telling them he needed the money to feed a drug habit.

Jeremy Kendall, representing Spearman, asked magistrates to spare him immediate jail and adopt the recommendations of a pre-sentence report, prepared for Thursday's hearing by the probation service.

He said Spearman was suitable for a programme of rehabilitation and a curfew preventing him from leaving home at night.

Magistrates remanded Spearman in custody until a sentencing hearing at crown court on a date to be fixed.

The Chromebooks he sold for £150 to pay for drugs were securely synced to a cloud-based server, allowing learning material and courses to be monitored for prison inmates.