A travelling conman has been jailed following the “despicable” crime of stealing a charity box from a shop in Malton, a court heard.
Alexander Hewitt, 57, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 24 weeks after pleading guilty to stealing the Help for Heroes charity box from the shop at JB Motors, in Wentworth Street, Malton.
His jail sentence, handed out by Scarborough Magistrates, was also punishment for making off without payment from a B&B in Robin Hood’s Bay.
The court heard that Hewitt had a “horrendous record” of offending spanning more than 40 years and that he had lived “a transient lifestyle” for most of his adult life in which he had not lived at any particular address.
Prosecuting, Martin Butterworth said Hewitt was seen on CCTV taking the charity box from the shop counter, and that he later admitted to police that there had been around £32 in it.
He checked into the B&B in May this year because it was raining, but left after staying two nights owing £80, said Mr Butterworth.
Hewitt, who is unemployed and survives on benefits of £70 which he collects from post offices, also pleaded guilty to failing to surrender to custody by missing his original court date at Scarborough Magistrates on July 16.
Mitigating, Michael Sandiford said Hewitt had been unable to attend court because he was in Blackpool at the time and couldn’t afford the bus fare.
He said: “The offence which I’m more concerned about is stealing the charity box. He said it was something he would only do when he was desperate for money,”
The court heard that Hewitt had been jailed at Norfolk Magistrates for 11 months in February last year also for two offences of making off without payment and one of theft. On that occasion he had also asked for 11 further matters to be taken into consideration.
Jailing Hewitt, chairman of the bench Mrs A. Clarke told him: “You have a horrendous record! There are numerous offences of dishonesty going back to 1972. The theft of charity box is despicable.”
l In 2012 North Yorkshire Police released this picture of Hewitt because they wanted to trace to him in connection with non-payment at a B&B on Crescent Avenue, Whitby.