Thief agrees with court’s jail sentence

A MAN who stole a hotel receptionist’s handbag has been jailed.

Andrew Blackford agreed with magistrates that he should be sent to prison for his crimes which included entering the Albany Lions Hotel and stealing an employee’s bag.

He had gone into the hotel enquiring about a room for the night with an acquaintance who went to look at one of the rooms with the unsuspecting receptionist.

When the friend returned the pair said they would go and get some money and return later on.

Afterwards the employee noticed that her bag with two expensive watches totalling £400 had been taken.

Eastbourne magistrates heard that Blackford, who gave HMP Lewes as his address in court, asked a landlord at one of the town’s pubs if he wanted to buy the watches, stating he had got them from another hotel while winking.

The suspicious landlord took the watches from the 24-year-old, told him to leave the pub and handed the jewellery to police.

The next day the defendant stole a remote control car from a town centre shop.

He was soon spotted by police walking with the box in his arm and was later apprehended, with the stolen item found nearby.

Blackford initially pleaded not guilty to burglary but changed his plea to guilty after the charge was amended slightly.

He also pleaded guilty to theft and asked for a similar matter to be taken into consideration.

The court heard that matter involved him stealing a laptop costing hundreds of pounds from the Laptop Station.

Jay Shah, defending, said, “Regarding the first offence there was some degree of planning but it was more of an impulsive action. Fortunately the items have been recovered.

“The following day through impulsive action he’s gone to the Modelzone shop and taken the item in question.

“It’s a poor record predominantly from addiction to drugs. He has taken a sensible and practical view, he is of the opinion the best type of sentence - rather than having pre-sentence reports, rather than asking for a drug rehabilitation order - he feels the more appropriate way for him to be sentenced is to immediate custody.”

For the burglary Blackford was sentenced to 18 weeks custody and six weeks for the theft.

The court heard he had spent 43 days in custody on remand and this would be taken off the time he serves in jail.