Sentenced for stealing cider

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A SOLICITOR said a cost-cutting Government is to blame for a criminal’s repeat offending at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court on January 11.

Thomas O’Donnell, 61, who suffers from brain damage, pleaded guilty to stealing cider from supermarkets on two separate occasions – the latest in a long list of convictions for theft.

Anthony Waller, defending, said conditions created by the judiciary system and a Government bent on austerity measures will inevitably lead to O’Donnell, 61, of Sumach Close, returning before Eastbourne magistrates.

He said, “It’s fair to say that Mr O’Donnell suffers from brain damage and he is an alcoholic. He cannot be cured.

“He seems to be left in limbo by our ever penny-pinching Government.”

He added, “It’s a very sad situation and I hate to say it, but he will be back before us again.

“But there is nothing we can do. Punishing him will not achieve anything.”

O’Donnell concealed a £3.78 bottle of Diamond White from Tesco in his coat pocket and walked out of the supermarket on January 2. He was confronted by shop staff and returned the bottle but was not arrested, police saying he would be dealt with at magistrates’ on January 17.

On January 10 he tried to steal a £3.19 bottle from Sainsbury’s at around 9am and police were called to the scene. O’Donnell reacted aggressively when confronted by police and was arrested.

Magistrates said because he had been remanded in custody overnight, he would not have to pay two £50 fines for each offence nor the £15 victim surcharge.