Community order for antique thief
A THIEF who pilfered a valuable sewing basket tool from a stall at an antiques fair in Shepton Mallet was spotted by two other sellers at the event.
David Leaman slipped the item into his jacket and then walked off, but despite being arrested by police it was never recovered.
The 54-year-old, of Locarno Road, Exeter, pleaded guilty to stealing an antique metal sewing basket tool worth £750 belonging to Trixie Frampton at Shepton Mallet on July 6 when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil.
Emma Chetland, prosecuting, said the offence took place at an antiques fair at the Royal Bath and West Showground.
“The theft was witnessed by two other stall holders as the victim was dealing with a customer,” she said.
“They saw a male walk up to her stall and pick up an item and then put it in his jacket. He then left without talking to the stall holder or making payment.”
After being told what had happened security staff at the event were alerted and Miss Frampton noticed the basket tool was missing from her display.
Leaman was stopped and arrested but the item was never recovered and he made no comment during a subsequent interview at Yeovil police station.
Defending solicitor Ian Denley said that his client helped to look after his mother who was suffering from early onset dementia and on the day in question his old habits had arisen and he stole the item.
“He is fearful of going back to prison again and needs to stop and think before he carries out these acquisitive crimes,” he said.
The magistrates sentenced Leaman to a 12 month community order with requirements for supervision and to attend at least 20 sessions of the Thinking Skills programme provided by the probation service.
He was also ordered to pay £350 compensation but no orders were made for costs or a victim surcharge.