Desperate addict stole rather than be ill

PUBLISHED: 10:15 10 November 2006 | UPDATED: 12:06 04 May 2010

DESPERATE heroin addict David Harley stole from two Ely shops just days after trying to rid himself of his habit and go cold turkey. He was taken into Addenbrooke s Hospital in Cambridge when he started to convulse and bring up blood -- but the hospital

DESPERATE heroin addict David Harley stole from two Ely shops just days after trying to rid himself of his habit and go "cold turkey."

He was taken into Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge when he started to convulse and bring up blood -- but the hospital released him before his appointment with the drug dependency unit.

"I told the hospital I have got to have some drugs, or I will be seriously ill again," he explained to Ely magistrates on Thursday. "So I turned to what I know best to make some money."

Harley, 39, of Friars Place, Littleport, admitted stealing £562 worth of jewellery from Steeplegate and a selection of toys from City Cycle Centre on November 6.

Prosecuting, Emma Dmitriev said Harley was caught on CCTV giving the bag of stolen jewellery to a Big Issue seller in the city. He took a black holdall into City Cycle Centre and filled it with toys, and staff were suspicious of his behaviour. Staff from the nearby Boots store detained him until the police arrived.

Harley told the court that he lost his job two years ago, he was a previous heroin user, and things had got "worse and worse."

"I tried getting through to my doctor, but that did not work, so I asked the probation service to get me in contact with the drug dependency unit."

Harley added: "I was at my wits' end, I do not want to be doing this."

Sentencing was adjourned until November 30 for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

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