Grantham court: Champagne thief encouraged to change behaviour

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The theft of two bottles of champagne has been admitted by a 39-year-old Grantham man.

Philip Pledger of Stour Court pleaded guilty to stealing the bottles valued at £70 from the Co-op on Princess Drive in Grantham.

The court heard how at 4.15pm on September 27, Pledger went into the store and put the champagne into a black bag before leaving without paying.

This was seen on CCTV, and Pledger was arrested and interviewed during which he said his partner had lost her purse and he therefore had no money.

Prosecutor Marie Stace added that Pledger did return to the store later and offer to pay for the stolen champagne.

Ian Boddy, defending, made reference to Pledger’s history of drug use and offending to finance that habit,

Chris Payne from the probation service gave testimony and described Pledger as ‘a long term customer of the probation service’, while at the same time highlighting his progress.

Mr Payne said: “He has made greater strides in the last year than in the previous ten years put together.”

He informed magistrates that Pledger is a father of two with a third child due in November, and that this was motivating him to change his behaviour.

Pledger regularly attends appointments with the Drugs and Alcohol Recovery Team (DART) and had been producing negative results for drugs.

For the shoplifting offence Pledger was sentenced to a community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement lasting six months.

He must also pay £70 in compensation to the Co-op and a £60 victim surcharge.

On handing down the sentence the magistrates encouraged Pledger to continue making progress, and added: “Let’s see if life can begin at 40.”