Man jailed for ‘abhorrent’ Sussex charity box thefts

Derrick Matthews. Photo provided by Sussex Police
Derrick Matthews. Photo provided by Sussex Police

A man seen ‘acting suspiciously’ in Eastbourne has been jailed for the theft of eight charity boxes across Sussex.

Derrick Matthews, of no fixed address, was handed an eight-month prison sentence for his ‘abhorrent’ crimes.

Police said officers received a call from a member of the public to report a man acting suspiciously in Eastbourne on Wednesday, August 22.

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Officers attended and were able to identify Matthews as the suspect in CCTV footage of the theft of charity tins.

The 59-year-old had been linked to stolen tins from businesses in Eastbourne, Rye, Hailsham, Burgess Hill, and Roberstbridge from November 2017 until May, said Sussex Police. He was arrested by officers and charged with eight counts of theft by walk-in.

Matthews was remanded in custody and appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on August 24 where he pleaded guilty to all charges. He was given a four-week prison sentence for each charge to run consecutively, totalling 32 weeks.

Investigating officer Anna Archer said, “Any theft is unacceptable but stealing money from a charity is particularly abhorrent.

“Matthews conducted his thefts in a calculated manner and in turn, caused a lot of distress from his behaviour.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the member of the public who called us to report his suspicious behaviour and subsequently allowing us to identify Matthews.

“We also had many calls from other members of the public identifying Matthews in the CCTV video we published on our website, which aided our investigation.

“The sentence Matthews received shows the severity of the case and should send a warning to everyone that we do not rule out investigating certain crime types and we will get the best outcomes where the greatest harm has been caused.”

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