Prolific homeless thief tells Peterborough court he will be back in the dock in six months as he won’t be able to pay compensation to his victims

JAILED: Paul Priestley
JAILED: Paul Priestley
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A prolific thief told magistrates he would ‘be back in court in six months’ after he was jailed for a string of thefts from cars.

Paul Priestley (38) admitted two counts of thefts from cars - with 10 others taken into consideration - at a hearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court this morning (Monday).

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.”

To which Priestley replied ‘Its always me.’ He then asked the dock officers accompanying him to take him up to the cells.

The court had been told police had been called to Castor in the early hours of March 3.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “There had been reports of a man was looking into vehicles.

“Two victims were identified. One had lost his wallet and a briefcase, containing work papers. There other had a phone, which was stored in the glove box, stolen.”

The wallet and the phone were recovered, but the briefcase was not.

Mr Beaumont said Priestley was a prolific offender, and said his list of previous convictions ran to 21 pages - with most of his past offences related to theft.

Mr Milburn added Priestley had long suffered from a drugs problem.

Sentencing, Mr Waterfield said: “You are a prolific offender - you have done this for most of your life.

“This isn’t low value offending - for every car you break into, the owner faces more insurance costs.”

Priestley pleaded guilty to two counts of theft from a motor vehicle, and was given a 16 week sentence for each, to be served concurrently. He was ordered to pay one of his victims £75 compensation, and the other £40 compensation.

He also admitted possession of amphetamine. No separate penalty was imposed, but the drugs were ordered to be destroyed.