Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Homeless man granted prison wish

A homeless burglar has been jailed on Teesside after pleading with a judge to send him back to prison.

Heroin addict Michael Simons was unable to find accommodation and drug treatment after being released in November, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The 34-year-old went on to steal a laptop and break into an empty house in Middlesbrough, the court was told.

He said "thank you" to the judge after admitting burglary and criminal damage and being jailed for 18 months.

You have what I regard as a sad record, in that you have spent a large part of your life in prison
Recorder Martin Bethel QC

Sean Grainger, defending, said Simons did not qualify for the methadone drug treatment programme when he was released from Holme House Prison in Stockton on 2 November and had lapsed back into crime to pay for drugs.

Mr Grainger said: "He is homeless and he wants a custodial sentence. When he was in the community there was no help and he committed these offences."

Simons, formerly of a bail hostel in The Crescent, Middlesbrough, was recorded on CCTV as he stole a £600 computer from Premier Pizza in Borough Road, Middlesbrough. He later sold the laptop for £20, the court heard.

Two days later he caused £100 damage fleeing an unoccupied property on the town's Boswell Street.

Recorder Martin Bethel QC told Simons: "You have what I regard as a sad record, in that you have spent a large part of your life in prison and now I'm told that you wish to be sentenced to imprisonment."



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