‘One man crime wave’ jailed for Peterborough thefts - four months after telling a judge he would be back

Paul Priestley
Paul Priestley
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A serial thief who told a judge he would be back in jail within six months has been jailed - four months after making his claim in court.

Paul Priestley, (39), was arrested on Thursday (July 6) in connection with a theft of clothing from a car at Brotherhood Retail Park in Peterborough on June 19.

Priestley, of no fixed address, had been identified through CCTV and admitted theft.

He also asked for a further 12 offences of theft from vehicle, all in Eye and during June and July, to be taken into consideration.

He was remanded and appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Saturday (July 8) where he was jailed for 12 weeks and made the subject of a criminal behaviour order for two years.

The order bans him from touching or entering any unattended vehicle without the permission of the owner and he can be sent back to prison if he breaches it.

Priestley had appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court in March, where he admitted a number of theft offences.

At the March hearing, the court was told Priestley was sleeping on the streets, and ‘was stealing to survive.’ His solicitor, Simon Milburn, said while Priestley, of no fixed abode, did not want another prison sentence, jail was ‘more preferable’ than time on the streets.

But when Magistrate Paul Waterfield jailed him for 16 weeks, and ordered him to pay compensation to two of his victims when he is released, Priestley said ‘I’ll be on the streets. How am I meant to pay it?’ Mr Waterfield said Priestley would have to return to court to arrange for payment to be made. Mr Priestley said: “I’ll be homeless. I’ll be back here in six months. What am I meant to do?” Mr Waterfield replied: “You need to do something to break the chain.”

Following the latest sentence, Detective Sergeant Tom Rowe said: “Priestley has been a one-man crime wave over recent weeks in Eye and I’m sure local people will be relieved he’s now been brought to justice.

“It is a great result and the criminal behaviour order also provides a longer term deterrent to prevent further offences. Not many of these orders are issued and I hope it provides extra reassurance for the community.”

More: Prolific thief tells judge ‘I’ll be back’ as he is jailed