37-year-old who ‘spiralled out of control’ burgled store, stole from supermarket and carried drugs

A 37-year-old who “spiralled out of control” following a split from his partner proceeded to steal, burgle and carry drugs during a spree of offences.

West Norfolk man Christopher Hewitt, of no fixed abode, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court last Thursday.

He was sentenced for a series of offences he had previously pleaded guilty to, while also admitting to further crimes committed in the time between his last appearance in court.

Christopher Hewitt appeared at Lynn Magistrates' Court last Thursday
Christopher Hewitt appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court last Thursday

Crown prosecutor Jessica Pratt-Vivian said that on January 12, Hewitt entered the Morrisons petrol station at Coburg Street in Lynn.

He subsequently picked up a sandwich and packet of crisps and left without paying.

On the same day, at around 11.30pm, he attended the Grange Hotel at Willow Park, “aggressively” banging a door as he wanted to go inside.

Christopher Hewitt stole alcohol and a tent from the Tesco Extra store on Lynn's Hardwick Industrial Estate
Christopher Hewitt stole alcohol and a tent from the Tesco Extra store on Lynn’s Hardwick Industrial Estate

The hotel manager was in the vicinity at the time, and when Hewitt smashed the glass door at the back of the venue, shards “flew into the building towards her”.

Hewitt then went around to the front entrance, but police arrived and arrested him. They noted that he was “soaking wet” because he had fallen into a pond.

Ms Pratt-Vivian said the hotel manager was left “shaken and upset” by the incident.

On February 17, Hewitt was charged with displaying drunk and disorderly behaviour in a public place after being found “highly intoxicated” and swearing in The Walks in Lynn.

While being searched, officers found 6g of cannabis on his person and he was also arrested for possession of the Class B drug.

Then, on February 23, an alarm went off at Tesco store in the town after Hewitt and one other man used a fire extinguisher to smash a glass door.

They proceeded to take cases of Stella Artois and Budweiser beer worth £22.20 in total, as well as two bottles of wine worth £8 each.

The pair left via the front door they had smashed, with CCTV footage capturing the incident. They were subsequently stopped on Wootton Road, and Hewitt had been drinking from one of the Stella cans.

Tesco asked for £5,198.70 in compensation for the damage and thefts, which resulted in Hewitt being charged with burglary.

On March 15, he stole £13.99 worth of alcohol from the B&M store at the Hardwick industrial estate in Lynn, while on March 23 he stole £40.50 worth of drink from the Sainsbury’s supermarket in that same area.

The next day, on March 24, he stole both alcohol and a tent worth a combined £90 from the Tesco Extra shop on the estate.

He was challenged by security personnel on that occasion, but still walked away without paying. By committing that offence, he had breached his bail conditions.

When arrested, officers found cannabis in his pocket. He was also charged with possession of 0.2g of the same drug on March 29.

One more theft during that month saw him steal chocolate from a shop.

Ms Pratt-Vivian said that Hewitt had nine years of being “quite clean of offences” before his recent spree. He faced a potential prison sentence for his burglary charge.

In mitigation, Charlotte Winchester said that the defendant’s life has “spiralled out of control” since he split from his partner – with “acute alcohol addiction” proving to be his most serious issue.

“It is an addiction that he wants to tackle,” the solicitor said.

“He wants to change. He wants to work with anyone who will help him, and he is motivated to try and tackle these problems – which are the root of the problems.”

Hewitt’s support worker attended court with him, and Miss Winchester said they are trying to find him “suitable” accommodation at the moment.

Magistrates opted to hand Hewitt an 18-month community order for his offences. During that time, he will have to carry out 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

He will also take part in a six-month alcohol treatment programme, as well as a 12-step mental health treatment order.

Those orders were handed out in relation to Hewitt’s burglary offence, with no separate penalties awarded for his other crimes.

Magistrates also told him to pay £600 in compensation to the Tesco store he burgled – the maximum they could award him due to his means. Because of those means, no compensation was awarded to other stores he stole from.

Orders were also made for the forfeit and destruction of all drugs seized from Hewitt.