Police who arrested a man for stealing a painting from a church in Seaford also discovered the handset from the public phone at Seaford Police Station which had been ripped out the day before when they searched him.
Bruno Alting, 67, of no fixed address, had been spotted acting suspiciously near St Peter’s Church on Sunday (December 15).
He was arrested after officers matched him to the description – and found the small religious painting on him.
Alting was found guilty of theft and criminal damage when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was fined £150 and ordered to pay £90 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Sergeant Stuart Mullins said, “We have had a number of complaints about this man.
“He has been a regular around the churches and community centres in Seaford for a number of weeks and has been receiving their help and sympathy after claiming that he is trying to get home to Spain and is homeless.
“Whatever his personal circumstances, he is clearly taking advantage of the kindness that he has been shown and repaying that kindness by stealing things.”