Radlett drug addict stole poppy collection box from doctors’ surgery

Court report

Court report - Credit: Archant

A drug addict who stole a charity box to fund his habit was sentenced to eight weeks in prison at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Friday (5).

Five days before Armistice Day last year, Paul Nevin, 34, of Scrubbitts Square, Radlett, stole a poppy collection box containing £21 from the Red House Doctors’ Surgery in Radlett.

Nevin, who had pleaded guilty to theft at an earlier hearing, was alleged to be withdrawing from drug use when he visited the doctors’ surgery to collect a prescription and visit his general practitioner (GP) about his mental health and drug use.

In his defence, the court heard that it was a ‘spur of the moment’ decision to steal the charity box, which Nevin placed in his bag before making off to purchase drugs.

Nevin was ‘withdrawing and wasn’t thinking straight’ and hearing voices because of his schizophrenia.

The court was told that Nevin had received little help with re-habilitation since his previous stint in prison and the magistrates were urged not to give a custodial sentence because it would not help him in the long term.

But Nevin was sentenced to eight weeks in prison as the money was for charity and he had missed his probation appointments on three occasions.

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Nevin was also ordered to pay a £20 penalty and £80 victim surcharge.