Thief given last chance by judge

AN IPSWICH thief has been given six months to prove to a court he has changed his ways.Liam Marsh, 22, of Raeburn Road, pleaded guilty to stealing two mobile telephones and £110 in cash, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

AN IPSWICH thief has been given six months to prove to a court he has changed his ways.

Liam Marsh, 22, of Raeburn Road, pleaded guilty to stealing two mobile telephones and £110 in cash, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Kate Stephenson, prosecuting, said Marsh had been invited back to a woman's home that she shared with a friend, following a night out.

The next morning both women discovered their telephones had been stolen along with an envelope marked rent money.

Marsh, who committed the two thefts in August 2001, also admitted going equipped for theft two months later.

He had planned to break into a stock of alcohol at Foxhall Stadium, the court heard.

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Ms Stephenson said Marsh had failed to surrender to bail and had been on the run for about a year.

Marsh, who has nine previous convictions for 25 offences including theft, dishonesty and failing to surrender to bail, admitted the two bail offences.

John Morgans, mitigating, said Marsh had settled down with his fiancée since the offences and was "ashamed and sorry" for what he had done.

"She has been a positive influence on him," said Mr Morgans. "He had a problem with drugs and mainly with drink but he has stopped drinking since 2001."

The court heard that Marsh had offered to pay the women £40 compensation a week when he returned to his employment.

Judge John Holt said he believed Marsh had "grown up" and was willing to defer sentence for six months.

He said: "Taking into account your pleas of guilty, I had pencilled in 12 months as an appropriate prison sentence and I may still impose it. But it is said that you have begun to grow up."

Marsh was told that he had six months to prove that he could stay out of trouble, maintain a good work record and pay compensation to the two women.

If Marsh can prove his good behaviour he will be given a community penalty instead of prison.

"If you blow this chance and that includes going back to drink there will be no point in making the community penalty," added Judge Holt.

Marsh was released on bail until the end of July.

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