Ex-convict stole van in Worksop to pay off prison drug debt

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An ex-convict stole a van from Worksop and used the owner's bank card to pay off drug debts he ran up in prison, a court heard.

Jamie Kettle took the Mercedes Sprinter van from Bracebridge Avenue, and bought £76 of cigarettes and other items from three shops, on August 31.

Prosecutor Daniel Pietryka told magistrates Kettle used a key to steal the van, which had previously been stolen on June 1.

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He was tracked down through CCTV, but the owner had still not been reunited with his van.

Ian Pridham, mitigating, said the owner had retrieved the van ten days after the first theft by making an appeal for information on Facebook, but had not changed the locks.

The original thief must have spotted the van, tested the fob, which worked, and thought “Who can we get to take it?” he said.

He said Kettle, a former heroin addict, had been in prison at the time of the first theft, and was released on June 28, “homeless, with no benefits and without enough ID to make a claim for benefits and a drug debt to some very unsavoury people.

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“He knows that every shop has high quality CCTV. That’s because he has been asked to do it by the people he owes the debt to.”

He said Kettle, who currently “dabbles” in mamba and cocaine, had “largely” cleared his drug debt, but his last five sentences had been prison.

“He wishes he could break the cycle he finds himself in,” Mr Pridham said.

Kettle, 33, care of Welbeck Street, Creswell, admitted taking the vehicle, and three counts of fraud, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Friday.

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He was given 22 weeks in prison, because of his “heavy previous record,” the high value of the van, and because it was stolen while Kettle was on post-sentence supervision.

He was ordered to pay compensation to HSBC, but no costs or government surcharge were awarded.

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