Jail for convict in charity theft

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

A jailed man who has 98 convictions has been sentenced to a further four months in prison after stealing charity boxes from McDonalds.

Neil Shaw, 31, of Chaucer Grove in Leigh, was handed the sentence by Wigan magistrates after pleading guilty to breaking into the Atherton chain and taking a sum of around £20.

I am wary of security at the restaurant now and it shook the staff up

McDonalds’ manager

The court heard how on November 23 at around 2.30am, Shaw broke into the fast food restaurant on Tyldesley Road via the drive-through window.

Prosecutor, Steve Woodman, told magistrates how the alarm had sounded and the manager attended to find that two charity boxes had been taken from the counter and the charity unit fixed to the floor had had its plastic lid removed.

Fingerprints lifted from inside the lid matched those of Shaw, who was then interviewed and denied the allegations.

He told investigators that he had been a customer at McDonalds many times which would explain why the prints were there.

The manager at the store told the prosecution: “The whole incident is disappointing, especially that someone can steal money from charity. I am wary of security at the restaurant now and it shook the staff up.”

The court also heard how Shaw is currently serving jail time for other “commercial burglaries,” also committed at restaurants.

At the time of his arrest for these offences, he had managed to escape police custody by getting past the security doors at Wigan police station before running into Robin Park. Shaw was found and detained in the car park around 20 minutes later.

Mr Woodman said: “He has 98 offences on record, 47 are for dishonesty. He has previous burglary convictions on there. One from May 12 last year when he appeared for a number of shoplifting matters and was given a four-week prison sentence.”

Shaw was in the process of serving his 22-month sentence when he appeared before magistrates for the additional offence at McDonalds.

Defence solicitor Peter Moran said: “He was suffering from misuse of various substances and lack of a proper home.”

But magistrate David Harrison was concerned about the “aggravating feature” of stealing from charity.

He told Shaw: “This offence of burglary is so serious that custody is the only option.”