Callous career criminal jailed for going on Sheffield stealing spree hours after prison release

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A callous career criminal, who embarked on a Sheffield stealing spree during which he targeted charity boxes and hospitals just hours after being released from prison for similar offences, has been put behind bars once again.

On June 23 this year, Lee Wragg was released from a year-long prison sentence, of which he served half, for a series of burglary and theft offences.

Prosecuting, Zaiban Alam told Sheffield Crown Court how it only took Wragg until 6.50pm that day to start offending once again, when he broke into a University of Sheffield building on Mappin Street in the city centre and stole £18.50 from a vending machine.

Just under two days later in the early hours of June 25, Wragg struck again at Starbucks in Ecclesall Road where he forced his way in and stole two charity boxes.

"CCTV showed the offences taking place. The defendant forced open the door," said Ms Alam.

She said £100 is estimated to have been in the charity boxes stolen by Wragg, of Victoria Street in Sheffield City Centre and that it cost £200 for the coffee shop's door to be fixed.

Then, at 11.40am on the same date, Wragg stole a satchel kept behind the bar at the OHM Bar in Fitzwilliam Street, Sheffield City Centre that had been left there by a member of staff.

Items of value in the bag included a charger worth £40 and the victim's passport.

The following day, Wragg broke into a branch of Subway located at King Street in Sheffield City Centre after it had closed and stole another charity box with around £10 inside. It cost £200 to fix the doors the 41-year-old smashed to gain access to the building.

At around 5.30pm that day Wragg went to the staff room at the Odeon cinema in Arundel Gate and stole a bag that had been left there by a member of staff. A bank card and £10 cash were inside the bag when it was stolen, the court heard.

On June 29, Wragg went up to the counter at the Bike Rehab shop in Wellington Street, Sheffield City Centre and inquired about a lock he said he was interested in buying.

Ms Alam said: "He then put his bag on top of the counter. The manager was suspicious so he kept an eye on him. When he looked again he saw the tip jar was missing. He challenged the defendant who then ran out of the store."

The jar contained around £35 in cash when it was stolen.

Wragg's final offence before being caught was at the Hallamshire Hospital on June 30 when he stole a handbag reported missing by a member of the public.

He was caught on CCTV committing all of the offences. Wragg pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary and two counts of theft at an earlier hearing.

In mitigation, David Baines, defending, said: "On his release he had nowhere to go and went back to living on the streets, with no stable accommodation. He fell back in with his old associates and went back to what he knew best."

Sentencing him to three years in prison, Judge Robert Moore described Wragg as a 'serious public nuisance'.

He told Wragg: "You regularly creep about in places like hospitals and cinemas looking for things to steal. Continuous short sentences have failed miserably.

"You were at it again on the same day you were released. In my view it's time to protect the public."