Caught on CCTV: Prolific Peterborough crook 'addicted to offending' cries in court as he is given five year curfew
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A prolific Peterborough crook who is “addicted” to offending cried in the dock as he was given a suspended sentence following his latest spree.
Paul Priestley (44) has been in and out of court over the past twenty years, with more than 100 crimes listed on his criminal record, and has previously been labelled a “one man crime wave” and a “menace to people who own a car” during court appearances.
He was back in the dock at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after being caught red handed on CCTV trying door handles to get into court.
He admitted five more offences – three counts of vehicle interference, possession of a knife and possession of cannabis.
The offences all happened less than a week after a previous Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) ended.
‘I am not ready to come off the order’
But the court was told Priestley was now keen to put his life of crime behind him – so much so that he had told police he was not ready to come off the order, even asking for his ankle tag, that tracks his location, to remain in place, despite the restrictions ending.
Priestley, of Pennington, Orton Goldhay, asked chair magistrates Sue Bolter to put a lengthy curfew in place, to keep him on the straight and narrow.
When Ms Bolter granted him his wish, Priestley could be seen wiping away a tear in the dock, and said “thank you.”
Roland Alexander, prosecuting, told the court Priestley’s most recent offending took place on March 25 and 26, when he tried the door handles of three cars in the Ortons. Many of Priestley’s previous offences have seen him stealing items from cars.
He was arrested by police at the Orton Centre on Monday, March 27, when he admitted he had a knife and a joint of cannabis on him.
Mr Alexander asked the court to impose a 10 year CBO, including a daily “doorstep curfew” between 11pm and 6am, and a ban on him touching any empty car without the express permission of the owner.
However, Andy Cave, defending, described a 10 year order as ‘draconian,’ instead asking for a five year order.
“I try car door handles. It is an addiction to me”
Mr Cave said: "He has a horrific record. He says he is addicted to trying car handle doors. He said when he has an order, it prevents him from going out and doing it. He attends appoints, meets with probation.
"His last order came to an end on March 20. He told police it was too early to come off the order. He volunteered to keep the tag on, because he felt it helped him.
"He wants it all back. He has stable accommodation, he is working with probation, he is working to get a job, and the orders help him.”
Mr Cave added: “He said he doesn’t take class A drugs, just a little bit of cannabis, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t commit violent offences. He said ‘I try car door handles. It is an addiction to me.’”
Mr Cave also told the court Priestley carried a small knife to cut up food, as he has a loose front tooth.
“If you touch a car, it will be do not pass go, and you will go straight to prison”
Ms Bolter sentenced Priestley to a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to take part in a rehabilitation activity requirement for 10 days.
The CBO was put in place for five years.
Ms Bolter said: “If you touch a car, it will be do not pass go, and you will go straight to prison.”You wanted that curfew, breach that and you will more than likely activate a prison sentence.”
She added: “We want you to stop the behaviour, and to do something else. Don’t let us down. Don’t come back to court.”
Priestley said: “I’m trying. I’m really trying.”
PC Olivia Ciani, who investigated, said: “Priestley was released from prison in June last year and appears to have been on best behaviour right up until his CBO was due to expire.
“He will chance his luck trying door handles of cars until he finds one that is open and will search it for anything of value that he can then sell on for cash.
“We will continue to work with him, alongside probation and other agencies to try to steer him away from criminality however, for as long as he chooses to commit crime, we will continue to put him before the courts.”
Along with the CBO and suspended sentence, Priestley was ordered to pay a £187 victim surcharge.A charge of breaching a CBO he had faced was dropped by the prosecution – as the offences happened after the CBO ended.