Lapsed addict caught in tent with money from convenience store till

Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A lapsed drug addict has been jailed after being caught with cash stolen from a convenience store till.

Police found Mark Lewis inside a tent – covered in sweat – with a large amount of cash stolen from the Prime Convenience Store, in Orwell Road, Felixstowe, on June 30.

CCTV showed the 44-year-old smash his way into the shop and leap over the counter in the early hours of the morning, before using a crow bar to force open the till and steal about £150.

A tenant of the property raised the alarm at about 3am upon hearing a loud thud from inside the shop, before discovering the front door smashed and wedged open.

Police then found Lewis in the company of a woman, with a large amount of notes and change, inside a red tent in Langer Road.

He was “sweating profusely” and made no comment in interview following his arrest, but was charged based on evidence explained to magistrates by prosecutor Ian Devine in Ipswich last week.

At the time of the raid, he was still under licence conditions of release from a 36-month prison sentence handed down at Ipswich Crown Court in September 2016 for a number of offences, including another burglary.

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As well as being jailed for his latest crime he could still be recalled to prison until November next year – or for a fixed term of 28 days – for breaching the conditions of his licence.

Lewis, who caused an estimated £800 worth of damage to the shop door, also pleaded guilty to contravening a closure order banning visitors from a property in Larkhill Way on June 2.

When found at the address, Lewis told police he was unable to read, and that it was too dark to have even seen the notice on the door when he entered.

Representing himself in custody at court, Lewis said: “I stupidly went out and did the crime because I’ve turned into an addict again.

“I regret what I did – and I’m now facing recall to prison for it.”

Lewis was jailed for 12 weeks by magistrates and ordered to pay £200 in compensation for the burglary.

No separate penalty was imposed for breaching the closure notice.

A decision is expected to be made on recalling Lewis to jail after the duration of his current sentence.