A despicable burglar and thief has been jailed after he stole charity money that was being raised to help support a seriously ill youngster.
Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Wednesday, November 21, how Leonard Allen, 36, of Victoria Street, Creswell, stole two charity boxes and a staff tip box during the raid at the Bolsover Fisheries on Town End, at Bolsover.
Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “It’s a matter of burglary at a fish and chip shop and the owner states she went back to the business on November 18 and the door would not fit correctly and the lock had been damaged.”
Mrs Allsop added that the fish and chip shop has a staff tip-box in Christmas wrapping paper and two charity boxes and there was money missing from all three boxes.
Bolsover Fisheries owner Bail Kaur revealed to the Derbyshire Times that a charity tin for Ashgate Hospicecare and one for a 10-year-old Bolsover boy had been targeted.
She added that the shop has been raising awareness and funds for 10-year-old Will Downes, from Bolsover, who has genetic disease ALD which destroys brain cells.
Allen, who has previous convictions, was spotted on CCTV footage at the premises, according to Mrs Allsop, and he was identified by police and arrested.
The defendant pleaded guilty to entering Bolsover Fisheries as a trespasser and stealing cash between November 17 and 18.
Defence solicitor Steve Brint said: “Lenny Allen is a young man with a long history of offending and he comes from a difficult background.
“He has been to custody on a number of occasions and appears before the courts regularly because his lifestyle has been chaotic and he has resorted to living on the streets or has been at the care of Her Majesty.”
Mr Brint added that Allen had been quite “pro-social” after he had last been released from prison but he suffered difficulties after the break-up of a relationship.
Allen began associating with the wrong peer group, according to Mr Brint, and he was reintroduced to class A drugs.
Mr Brint added that Allen has also been struggling financially because he has been trying to fund a drug habit when he only receives benefits.
Magistrates, who described Allen as “despicable”, sentenced the defendant to 16 weeks of custody and ordered him to pay £250 compensation.
Bali Kaur said that since the burglary the community has been rallying around the shop with donations and kind messages.
She added: “People have been wonderful coming in to make donations after they had heard what happened.
“It’s been very heart-warming to know that so many people have been so concerned.
“We will not let someone like that put us down.”