Sentence for Harry Potter theft

A FORK-LIFT truck driver has been spared a prison sentence after admitting stealing pages from the new Harry Potter novel.Magistrates in Lowestoft told Donald Parfitt that they had considered sending him to prison, but gave him a 180 hour community punishment order and told to pay £55 court costs.

A FORK-LIFT truck driver has been spared a prison sentence after admitting stealing pages from the new Harry Potter novel.

Magistrates in Lowestoft told Donald Parfitt that they had considered sending him to prison, but gave him a 180 hour community punishment order and told to pay £55 court costs.

Parfitt admitted theft at a hearing on May 14 when magistrates adjourned sentencing for reports.

Parfitt, 44, of Worlingham, near Beccles, found the pages in the car


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park of the firm where the book is being printed.

The court heard that Parfitt worked at Clays Printers in Bungay, which is printing the new Harry Potter novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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Magistrates heard that he found pages from the novel in the car-park while waiting for a lift home. He had picked up the pages, put them in his lunch-box and then attempted to sell them to The Sun newspaper for £25,000.

The theft came to light after a man called James telephoned the newspaper on May 5 offering to sell the first three chapters of the novel.

Reporters arranged a meeting and alerted police. Parfitt was subsequently

Arrested.

Richard Mann, mitigating, asked the magistrates not to give Parfitt a curfew order as he was planning to take his family on holiday.

"There is a family holiday that has been organised for eight or nine months. It will be the first group family holiday they have actually had."

Mr Mann, who previously referred to Parfitt as a "salt of the earth character", said the incident had left him "a broken man".

He said the family now relied for an income on Parfitt's partner, Karen Park.

"Mr Parfitt has lost his job due to this," he said.

Magistrate chairman, Bunty Hunt said: "The bench had considered custody but we are going to order a community punishment order of 180 hours.

"We have considered the serious breach of trust and the high potential value.

"But the mitigating factors are the remorse that you have shown, your early guilty plea and the fact that it was an impulsive act."

The book which is the fifth in JK Rowling's best-selling Harry Potter series is due to go on sale on June 21.

Magistrates were told that the issue of security at Clays had been sensitive because of the publishers' desire to keep the book under wraps until it arrived on shelves.

The court heard that Parfitt found the pages in early May. At around the same time pages from the book were also found in a field near Clays works.

But magistrates were told the discovery of the pages in the field was nothing to do with Parfitt.

Parfitt was one of four people involved in an attempt to sell the stolen pages.

Two 16-year-old boys, who admitted handling stolen goods, were given absolute discharges on May 16.

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