Rough sleeper sought arrest to get a bed

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“DISASTROUS” circumstances led to a homeless migrant purposely stealing from a supermarket so he would have somewhere to stay for the night as snow hit South Holland.

Spalding Magistrates’ Court was told Andrzej Jasik (40) was seen by a security guard at Morrisons in Pinchbeck putting a DVD player worth £49 into a white bag and going through the self-service checkouts without paying.

Prosecutor Rebecca Ritson said police officers later found a lock knife in his bag following the theft on February 8.

She also told the court how the theft had been committed while Jasik was serving an 18-month conditional discharge relating to two thefts and possession of cannabis.

He pleaded guilty to breaching the conditional discharge, the theft and possession of the knife.

Angela Jones, from Lincolnshire Probation Service, said: “I think it’s possible to describe his circumstances as disastrous.

“He has been homeless for the last three months and often we hear of people that can sofa surf or stay with friends. He tells me he has been sleeping rough on the street or in empty houses. He spent last night in an empty house and he hopes to stay there again tonight.

“He is not in work and he has no income. He did say to me that this offence was committed because if he was arrested and taken into custody he had the chance of a bed for a night.

“In itself, it’s quite sad. He tells me he really wants to return to Poland.”

Mrs Jones said she had given him the number for Boston’s Reconnections service in attempts to make that possible.

Dav Naghen, mitigating, said Jasik had not carried the knife as a weapon and had not attempted to “brandish it”. He said it was taken to help him steal.

He told the court Jasik had been in an “entirely desperate” position when he decided to commit the theft.

Mr Naghen added: “His ideal solution would be to leave the country and go back to Poland. He does not even have the means to do that.”

Passing sentence at the hearing on Thursday, presiding magistrate Greg Cejer said: “This has been a very difficult sentencing exercise but on the basis of Mrs Jones’ report and what Mr Naghen has said, we are going to make a six-month community order.

“This was because of the fact that you are a repeat offender. You have already breached two conditional discharges but in mitigation you have been compliant with the police when you have been arrested.”

Mr Cejer asked for the Probation Service to continue to help Jasik contact the relevant services to be repatriated to Poland.