Homeless ex-soldier with PTSD admits shoplifiting in Ipswich to fund drug habit

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

A homeless ex-soldier with post traumatic distress disorder has admitted shoplifting and fraud.

Luke Chumbley, formerly of Bradford Drive, Colchester but now of no fixed address, targeted Maplin in Ipswich and HMV in Chelmsford.

The 30-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of theft from shop and two charges of fraud by false representation when he appeared before Ipswich magistrates.

The offences took place between December 27 and December 29.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said on December 28 the manager of Maplin became aware a Seagate hard drive worth £129.99 had gone missing the previous day.

They later noticed another hard drive, a Jawbone UP3 band, and a USB pen worth £319.97 were missing.

A check of the shop’s CCTV showed a male taking the items and making no attempt to pay.

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At 4pm the same day one of the staff at CEX in Upper Brook Street went to Maplin to ask if items had been stolen.

Mrs Harper said Chumbley had gone into CEX on December 27 using the name of Matthew Smith and sold items in that name on that day, and on December 28.

Chumbley had declared the items were his. CEX paid him £141 on December 27 and £62 on December 28.

On December 29 Chumbley stole a speaker worth £129.99 from HMV in Chelmsford.

When police spotted him he tried to run off and jumped over a wall.

He dropped his rucksack with a speaker in it and was found hiding in a bush in someone’s garden as his foot was seen poking out.

Magistrates were told at the time of the offences Chumbley was on an 18-month community order.

Chumbley, representing himself, said he took the items to fund a heroin habit, but since his arrest has sought help for his drug problem.

He has also been in contact with the Royal British Legion and ex-service personnel charity SAAFA for help.

Chumbley told the court his marriage had broken down around Christmas and he was now homeless. In addition he has PTSD from is time in the army.

Magistrates sentenced Chumbley to 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

He was ordered to pay £80 to the victims’ fund and £449.96 compensation.

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