Thief sprints into office

PUBLISHED: 13:19 29 June 2007 | UPDATED: 22:54 28 May 2010

A THIEF who ran into a Chatteris estate agent s office and stole a laptop computer is fighting a heroin addiction, magistrates heard. Stephen Barton was on his way home from the Jobcentre when he went into Kathleen Dack s High Street premises and grabbed

A THIEF who ran into a Chatteris estate agent's office and stole a laptop computer is fighting a heroin addiction, magistrates heard.

Stephen Barton was on his way home from the Jobcentre when he went into Kathleen Dack's High Street premises and grabbed the computer.

"She was in the back room with Colin Waterfield, and heard the sound of something hitting the floor," Fenland magistrates were told by prosecutor Laura Mardell.

"They both went out into King Edward Road, and saw Barton running towards a car, and get into the driver's side."

Mr Waterfield banged on the car window, smashing it, she said. He grabbed the car keys and the computer, and Barton demanded the return of the keys.

Barton ran off, but documents left in the car meant police were able to track him down. When interviewed, Barton, 36, of Green Park, Chatteris, said he needed money to support his wife and family and to buy drugs.

In court he admitted stealing the laptop on May 29, breaching his community order, and failing to turn up for court on June 19. He asked for an offence of making off without paying for petrol to be taken into consideration.

Mitigating, Anita Waterman said Barton acted on impulse. He had been heavily addicted to heroin for some years but was now working with a drug agency, and had given some clean blood tests.

"He has two main priorities, to be there for his children and to rid himself of his addiction," she added.

Sentencing was adjourned until July 18.


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