Keep me in prison
A SERIAL thief has begged a judge to keep him locked up, warning that he will steal again if let out.
St Columb man Matthew Moore, 41 – who, according to the prosecution, has "many, many previous convictions for theft" – faced Truro Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for burglary and theft by finding, but is set to be released from prison in a matter of weeks.
Chris Nicholls, for the defence, appealed on Moore's behalf for his sentence to be extended to allow more time to organise accommodation.
Mr Nicholls said: "The defendant is saying, 'Could he have a bit more time inside, please?' He has nowhere to go and he quite frankly says he would fall into crime again."
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Attempting to convince the judge, Mr Nicholls added that his client's previous convictions were "clearly an aggravating feature" of the new matters.
Iain White, for the prosecution, said Moore broke into his aunt's house and stole jewellery.
She returned to her Newquay home on June 5 to find her bedroom window open and her nephew crouching underneath it outside.
Moore pleaded guilty to burglary. Mr White said she challenged him and he returned a necklace he had taken, but made off with her engagement ring and her grandmother's wedding ring.
The second offence took place just a few days later, on June 11.
Moore, of Goosehill, Tregonetha, St Columb Major, was originally charged with burglary at Trevone Road, Padstow, where he was said to have stolen a laptop computer and a digital camera.
He denied entering the home, claiming instead that the equipment had fallen out of some bushes while he was walking his dog in Padstow.
Mr White said: "The dog got off the lead and ran into some bushes.
"He jumped on top of the dog in the bushes and the laptop fell out of the bushes."
Moore pleaded guilty to theft by finding, a plea which the Crown accepted – a decision the Recorder, Mr Parish, described as "utterly incomprehensible".
Sentencing, he said: "If you had been convicted of the Padstow burglary you would have received a sentence in the region of three years.
"For reasons which to me are utterly incomprehensible, a ludicrous plea of theft by finding [has been accepted].
"It is complete and utter nonsense."
However, the Recorder said he was bound by Moore's plea and gave him an 18-week sentence for the burglary and 12 weeks for the theft by finding, adding up to a total of 30 weeks in prison.
He has already spent three months in custody waiting for the outcome of court proceedings – time which will be deducted from any sentence passed.
Moore will serve half the sentence behind bars before being released on licence.