String of town burglarieslands thief in jail

Date: Friday 19th January 2018

AN Alston man was in tears in the dock at court as he apologised for committing a string of burglary offences.

Stephen Anthony Jackson (48), Globe Lane, admitted a total of four charges when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court. He was jailed for 30 weeks.

Jackson pleaded guilty to attempting to burgle Alston Pharmacy on 26th September, and twice burgling Alston Medical Practice — first on 26th September, when he stole medication worth £5.32, and again on 1st October, when he took medication worth a total of £143.

He also admitted burgling Alston Clock Shop between 25th and 26th September, stealing three antique clocks and a vacuum cleaner, together worth £800.

Miss Beccy McGregor, prosecuting, said the offences were all committed during one week in the “isolated rural community” of Alston.

The alarm was activated at Alston Pharmacy at 2am on 26th September and a member of staff attended the scene. They found a front window had been damaged, at an estimated cost of £2,000, but no entry had been gained to the premises.

Jackson also broke the window of the clock shop and, once inside, broke another glass panel. He had placed one of the clocks in a nearby lane before going to collect the others.

The alarm was sounded at the medical centre overnight between 25th and 26th September after Jackson hurled a paving slab through a window. Blood was found inside the premises.

The court heard that boxes of diazepam were taken during the raid and the cost of damage to the window was estimated at £60. When police went to the clock shop to investigate the incident Jackson was noticed by officers staggering around outside.

Miss McGregor said his clothing was ripped. “The defendant told the officer that he had been up all night. He was heavily under the influence of drugs. As a result of his appearance and his demeanour the officer arrested him,” she said. Jackson’s home address was “very close to the scenes of crimes”.

When he was released on bail he again targeted the pharmacy by once more throwing a paving slab through a window and stealing pregabalin and diazepam.

Mr. Ian Hudson, in mitigation, said Jackson, who was a former heroin addict, had experienced a tragic set of circumstances and could not cope with the deaths of both his mother and brother.

He had moved to Alston from Newcastle and, if he had had a circle of friends around him, things might have been different. “I could say it’s a cry for help,” said Mr. Hudson.

He added that, despite his previous record of offending, Jackson had stayed out of trouble between August, 2007, and February, 2014. He had contacted an organisation which helped rehabilitate ex-offenders.

“He needs help and the prisons are full. I may respectfully suggest you may pass sentence on the basis of mercy,” Mr. Hudson told Miss Recorder Julie Clemitson.

As Jackson was led away to the cells he told the judge that he was sorry and had written to each of his victims apologising for his actions.