A man who stole air ambulance charity collection bags left in the streets of Sutton Bridge was caught when ‘cornered’ by the official collector.
Charles Kobleck was spotted picking up bags by a resident who gave his vehicle’s registration number to the official collector.
The collector later saw Kobleck in St Matthew’s Drive and used his van to block Kobleck’s car in the cul de sac, prosecutor Marie Stace told Spalding magistrates.
Police were called and, in interview, Kobleck admitted taking six bags left out for the charity and said he was going to sell the contents at a car boot sale the following Sunday to raise money to buy Christmas presents for his children.
Solicitor Daven Naghen, mitigating, said: “Clearly theft from a charity attracts an emotional response and Mr Kobleck accepts this is a very low act to commit.
“In this case the goods were recovered so the loss to the charity was made good.
“Whilst he was in custody, the police searched his house and his car to make sure this was not an ongoing activity.”
Kobleck had gone out that day to buy a TV licence, spotted the bags filled with clothes and took a spontaneous decision to take them.
“These are not clothes that people are throwing out as such but willing to give to charities in bags in the street,” he said.
Mr Naghen described the theft as a “spur of the moment decision in the run-up to Christmas” as finances in the house were very low.
He said the family lived on benefits, including an allowance for a disabled child, but Kobleck has gone back to college to take three A levels because he wants to get a job in engineering.
Kobleck (37), of Nene Meadows, admitted stealing the charity bags from the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance charity on December 13.
At Thursday’s court hearing, he was given a year’s conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Presiding magistrate Peter Dolby told Kobleck it was a sorry tale and, as Mr Naghen said, “quite a low act”.