Duo admit stealing lead from church roof

A MAN has narrowly avoided being sent to jail after leaving an Ipswich court before being sentenced.Danny Wilkinson, 24, of Rushmere Road, Ipswich, appeared in South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court with Billy Edge, 29, of no fixed address, both accused of stealing lead from the roof of an Ipswich church.

A MAN has narrowly avoided being sent to jail after leaving an Ipswich court before being sentenced.

Danny Wilkinson, 24, of Rushmere Road, Ipswich, appeared in South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court with Billy Edge, 29, of no fixed address, both accused of stealing lead from the roof of an Ipswich church.

They were charged with stealing a large quantity of lead from the roof of St Clements Church, in Star Lane, on September 10.

The men were seen in the church yard and then later on top of the roof.

Magistrates heard that when police officers approached them, Edge lifted up his hands and said: “OK guv, you got me no problem.”

Both men pleaded guilty in court to stealing lead worth an estimated £200.

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Edge, who once worked as a roofer and admitted taking half a gram of heroin and crack cocaine on a daily basis, was also charged with two other shoplifting offences and an attempted theft.

He was sentenced to 42 days in prison.

District Judge David Cooper said: “What you did was naughty but it wasn't vicious or nasty.

“It's sacrilege though isn't it - stealing from a church.”

Wilkinson, who is thought to have been high on heroin at the time of the theft, is currently on methadone.

Ian Persaud, mitigating, said: “He has had a very unsettled background and has unfortunately started taking heroin just recently.

“He's not taken it before but has started to slide down the proverbial slope as it were.”

The court, including Wilkinson's defence solicitor, were later left in shock when Wilkinson fled the court and failed to return for sentencing until the afternoon.

When he reappeared he claimed he didn't realise what was going on.

He said: “I got the wrong end of the stick.”

He is due to reappear in court on October 17 and will be ordered to attend a drug rehabilitation programme.

District Judge Cooper said: “What do you mean by disappearing like that? Do try to be good Mr Wilkinson and a bit more sensible.”

Have you been the victim of thieves? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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