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Heartless criminal stole from charity that was trying to help him

today20 September 2022 1

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A drunk homeless man stole an electronic tablet from the Derby church mission which was trying to help him by allowing him to stay there following his release from prison. Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how Kieran Welsh took the device into a room which was not covered by CCTV at the charity and it then disappeared, never to be found.

Months later, the 22-year-old turned up drunk at another city charity, the YMCA, which was attempting to aid the defendant to get back on his feet. While there, he threatened a member of staff and damaged a shutter to get into a room he had been evicted from just a day before.

And his sentencing hearing was told how since his last release from prison Welsh has not taken advantage of help offered to him by a third organisation – the probation service. Instead he has “ploughed his own furrow” as the sentencing judge told him.

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Jailing him for 15 weeks, District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “I am afraid you have made the court’s task extremely difficult because you have taken a positive decision not to cooperate with the probation service. I can see no point in wasting valuable public resources on someone that’s not going to cooperate.

“It is clear to me you are ploughing your own furrow and not taking advantage of the help available.”

Peter Bettany, prosecuting, said the first offence took place at Safe Space, a Christian charity which helps the city’s rough sleepers, in Normanton Road, on March 1. He said the defendant was staying there at that time having just been released from prison.

The prosecutor said: “At around 2pm, he booked out an electronic tablet and was seen on CCTV entering a room which was not covered by CCTV and when he came out the tablet was not on him and it has never been recovered.”

Mr Bettany said the second incident happened at the YMCA, in London Road, on August 26, where Welsh had been staying until being evicted the previous day. He said the defendant turned up drunk and tried to get in but was told by a worker there he was not allowed in.

The prosecutor said: “He said he wanted his black trackies back but because he was drunk he was told to come back on the following Monday so he tried to get in, pushing past someone and entering the lounge area. He wanted to go upstairs to his old room but couldn’t get in as he didn’t have a key.

“He then tried to get in by squeezing under some shutters in the kitchen which ended up being damaged. He also lunged forward trying to grab someone by the lapel but he was stopped from doing that and then went back to sleep until the police arrived.”

Welsh, currently of Burton Road, Woodville, Swadlincote, pleaded guilty to theft, criminal damage and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and has what Mr Bettany said was “an extensive (criminal) record”.

His solicitor told the hearing that her client had been drinking so heavily when he committed the YMCA offence that he suffers from “the shakes”.

She said: “He works part-time as a cleaner and also plays football for the Derby Community Mental Health Trust.”

As well as being sent to prison, Judge Taaffe ordered the defendant to pay a £154 victim surcharge.

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