A DRUG addict living in a tent in a wood near Minehead who stole hundreds of pounds worth of goods and cash to fund his habit, was jailed for 18 months by Taunton Crown Court last Wednesday (February 5).
Judge Paul Cook told 48-year-old Ian Sephton that, although he accepted that he was sorry for his crimes, his level of addiction demanded a custodial sentence.
Christine Hart, prosecuting, said that Sephton had admitted taking £350 from an 80-year-old pensioner at a Minehead cashpoint, snatching handbags, using stolen credit cards and stealing £200 worth of perfume from stores in the town.
The court was told that Sephton was spending £60 a day on cocaine and heroin and was living in his car in Minehead and later in a tent after fleeing from Liverpool drug-dealers to whom he owed money.
Ms Hart alleged that in April last year Sephton had stolen a handbag from a 77-year-old woman in the Tesco car park and another from a woman in the Hairy Dog pub. He also carried out four credit card transactions and stole perfume from two stores.
Ms Hart said the most serious incident happened in May last year when Sephton grabbed £350 in cash from an 80-year-old man who was withdrawing it from the HSBC cashpoint in Minehead.
In an impact statement, the victim said the incident had left him feeling vulnerable, wary and anxious: “I have become more agitated and people close to me have noticed a change in my normal laid-back manner,” he added.
Will Rose, for Sephton, said that what had started as recreational use of cocaine had led to heroin and a downward spiral.
Mr Rose told the court that Sephton wanted to apologise to his victims, was ashamed of his actions and was determined to change. But Judge Cook said that, although he accepted that Sephton was now sorry for his crimes, a suspended sentence would not be suitable.
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