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Offender sent to jail again after stealing from till

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 13, 2012

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A NEWLY-released offender returned to crime after becoming homeless and being given a tent to live in by his probation officer.

Ryan Christie took part in a till snatch after failing to go straight and returning to drug use.

He was caught after a sharp eyed holidaymaker made a note of his getaway car's number.

Christie, 36, had only been out of jail for days and was living rough around Ilfracombe when he carried out the theft at a shop in Combe Martin.

He had gone to his probation officer for help with accommodation and been offered the loan of a tent to live in, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Christie, of Regent Place, Ilfracombe, admitted two thefts and being carried in a car which was taken without consent.

He was jailed for 18 months by Judge Phillip Wassall.

Jonathan Barnes, for the prosecution , said Christie was the passenger in a Rover car which was taken from the car park of the Pack of Cards pub in Combe Martin on May 17.

The two men drove the short distance to the Best One shop where Anthony Ferris was working on his own behind the counter.

They sneaked into a store room and stole his wallet which contained £17 cash and then snatched £120 from the till, after Christie pretended to be buying cigarette papers.

Mr Barnes said: "Both men tried to put their hands into the till but Mr Ferris very bravely tried to push them both away, although they eventually managed to steal £120.

"Outside David Wallace, who was on holiday with his wife, became suspicious of the stolen Rover, which was left with the ignition running.

"He then saw the two men run out with hoodies drawn over their faces running from the shop, one holding a handful of bank notes and drive off. He took the number and called the police."

Joss Ticehurst, for the defence, said no violence had been used in the theft and nobody had been hurt.

He said: "At the time Christie was under probationary supervision and on licence. He had been released from prison clean of heroin but unfortunately he had issues with accommodation.

"His probation officer lent him a tent and he was living in the tent and you may feel it was almost inevitable that being back in Ilfracombe and living in a tent he began to use heroin again.

"He raised concerns and his supervisor said he must look at getting him into rehab but unfortunately that help did not come soon enough.

"When someone who has a propensity for heroin and is released and his life is rubbish, this will happen."

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