Career criminal started Sheffield charity box theft spree - day after walking free from court

A career criminal started a charity box theft spree across Sheffield just a day after being given a suspended sentence for similar offences.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 10:17 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 16:02 pm
Lee Wragg

Lee Wragg, aged 41, has been sentenced to a year in jail for 10 thefts and two burglaries carried out in three weeks in Sheffield this summer.

Wragg, of no fixed address, had been given a suspended sentence at Sheffield Magistrates Court on August 15 for three thefts, one attempted theft and one burglary - only to start committing crimes again the following day.

Richard Veni, prosecuting, said Wragg had stolen a charity box from the OMG bar on West Street on August 16, before being caught on camera stealing from the University of Sheffield Students' Union on August 23.

He took a charity box from Sheffield railway station on August 24. On August 26, Wragg and two other men sole boxes of spirits worth hundreds of pounds from the Anchorage bar on Fitzwilliam Street.

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Wragg took an unattended rucksack from a train on August 27, then went to Burger King at Sheffield railway station where he took two charity boxes from the counter and put them inside the stolen bag before leaving,

He went to the Tesco store on Montgomery Terrace Road the following day, where he took charity collection tins where money was being donated towards Sheffield Children's Hospital and the British Heart Foundation.

On August 31, Wragg targeted the Beres sandwich shop on Pinstone Street, taking a BHF charity box.

On September 2, Wragg attempted to steal food from Sainsbury's in Crookes but the items were recovered. Later that day, he stole coffee and tea from a convenience store.

He also took two charity boxes from the Doctor's Orders pub on Glossop Road between August 28 and September 3.

Wragg was finally arrested on the same day after being identified from CCTV from the various thefts he had been involved in.

Mr Veni said Wragg has 46 previous theft offences on his criminal record, dating back to the 1990s.

Andrew Smith, defending, said Wragg had written a letter to the court explaining his actions had occurred after leaving prison after a six-year sentence and having nowhere to live.

Judge Mrs Recorder Turner said: "This is a man with an extensive criminal record. I wonder whether he has written a similar letter before."

Mr Smith said his client's letter was an attempt to explain the circumstances that had led to him committing his most recent crimes.

Recorder Turner said the offences were so serious, she had no option but to jail Wragg.

She told him: "Following your release, you found yourself in a somewhat difficult position in terms of accommodation and subsistence.

"These offences were mean. Good people looking to help others had put money in these boxes and you simply helped yourself, denying good causes.

"That these offences were committed within a very short period of you being made subject to a suspended sentence order is dismaying."

Wragg was given eight months for the most recent offence, with his suspended four month sentence being activated to take his full prison term to one year.