Drug debts drove me to steal DVD'

PUBLISHED: 11:19 23 March 2006 | UPDATED: 13:20 04 May 2010

DRUG user Martin Quince stole a DVD player from the Co-op, at Littleport, because he needed cash to pay drug debts, city magistrates were told on Thursday. He grabbed the machine from a display and left the shop, and when he was chased by staff he dropped

DRUG user Martin Quince stole a DVD player from the Co-op, at Littleport, because he needed cash to pay drug debts, city magistrates were told on Thursday.

He grabbed the machine from a display and left the shop, and when he was chased by staff he dropped the player and left the area.

Quince was interviewed by police four days later and told officers he had planned to sell the £49.99 Cello DVD recorder to pay off drug debts.

After 25-year-old Quince admitted stealing the machine on March 5, solicitor Jacqui Baldwin told the court he had been released from prison last November.

Until then he had used heroin but since his release he had volunteered for the drug intervention programme and had worked to rid himself of drug use.

"There will always be a time of relapse, and this was a relapse, but he is now back on track," she said.

He now had a prescription for the heroin substitute methadone. Quince was living near drug users and had applied to be moved away, she added.

"When someone is using heroin, their debts are not apparent," she said. "He owes money for gas, electricity and rent, and has involved the Citizens Advice Bureau with assisting him to pay a small amount off the debts every week."

Giving Quince a one-year conditional discharge, presiding magistrate Kathy Bradney told him: "We are giving you an opportunity here. Take it - we don't want to see you here again.

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