Derbyshire Constabulary

Church thief now studying Bible in prison

Thu 28 Jun 2018
By Eno Adeogun

A man who carried out a string of burglaries over Christmas - including taking communion wine from a Derby church - is now studying the Bible in prison.

Derby Crown Court heard how Richard West, a 43-year-old father-of-four caused more than £12,000 of damage when he committed eight break-ins, between December 25th and January 6th.

He targeted the Central United Reformed Church, through a third floor window but unable to get into the safe, "all he could find to steal" was the wine and cakes.


His lawyer Adam Brown claimed his repeat offending was linked to returning to his drug addiction after his marriage fell apart.

Brown explained: "His heroin and crack cocaine habit saw him spending between £300 and £400 a day to feed his addiction but since his incarceration he is now doing Bible studies and going to the chapel at the prison.

"He bitterly regrets what he did and would like to apologise to the people he's affected in person. He mostly regrets the burglary at the church which he acknowledges is the worst one and the effect it has had on those there."

In its Victim Personal Statement, the church said: "It's a disgrace that a church has been broken into. We have an elderly congregation which carries out a lot of work for charity and our cleaner is now afraid to go inside alone.

"This is an awful crime."

Judge Jonathan Bennett sentenced West to 22 months in prison, describing him as a "one-man crime wave that caused enormous disruption".

Other items West stole from different properties include roof tiles, cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, laptops and even ice cream.

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