Jail for charity collection thief

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A man who stole a charity collection box has been jailed for a total of nine months.

Jonathan Edward Martin Dunn, of Glenside Road, pleaded guilty to the theft of an MS Society collection box on March 24.

The 22-year-old also admitted stealing a pair of trainers worth £8.50 from Dunnes Stores on August 14.

Derry Magistrate’s Court was told police were called to the Peace Bridge in the early hours of the morning because a man in his 20s was removing life lines.

Police stopped Dunn, who matched the description given to police, and they found the charity box hidden under his clothes.

He claimed he had found it at the bottom of the bridge, but later admitted he was drunk and “must have stolen it”.

It was revealed to the court the defendant was also in breach of a probation order for driving offences committed last year.

District Judge Barney McElholm warned that “anyone caught interfering with life lines on the Peace Bridge or anywhere else will get an immediate custodial sentence”.

However, he said Dunn was not charged with that but with the “particularly odious” offence of stealing a charity box.

The judge revoked the probation order and jailed the 22-year-old for a total of nine months.