‘Fucking thank you for Covid,’ says addict shoplifter to judge who jailed him

A struggling heroin addict who stole three bottles of brandy has been jailed for six months after activating his suspended sentence.

Mark Payne, 46, hid the bottles under a bag of crisps in his backpack in a corner Sainsbury’s that wasn’t covered by CCTV on 22 April.

‘Fucking thank you for Covid,’ he swore as he received his sentence at the end of the hearing.

Payne has a history of offending stemming from a heroin addiction and issues with his mental health medication, Croydon Magistrates’ Court heard.

District Judge Heptonstall said: ‘This is for taking three bottles of brandy, you were stopped by security, you have a collection of suspended sentence matters dealt with on the 18th of June last year. 

‘Do you accept that by committing further offences you are in breach of your suspended sentence last year?’

‘Um yes, if that’s correct? Yes… yeah,’ replied Payne, sitting in a police station video booth wearing a blue fleece with white stripes.

‘They would have run out in December of this year,’ added Judge Heptonstall.

Payne replied: ‘OK, sorry, yeh OK.’

Payne was on bail to Brighton Magistrates for a matter of stolen goods and also on police bail at the time, Croydon Magistrates’ Court heard.

Neither had he attended any of the drugs rehabilitation requirement sessions given to him as a condition of his suspended sentence. 

Charlie Sheriff, defending, said: ‘He has suffered from heroin addiction for 25 years, he had 4 years offending with a gap in offending, until 2017. 

‘He was prescribed medication but relapsed as a result of difficulties with mental health.

‘He wasn’t on meds that were working and struggled to maintain that, so his mental health was suffering which resulted in a relapse.

‘He wishes to express remorse, drug use is what brings him before court on each occasion.’

Judge Heptonstall said: ‘There has been very limited compliance with the conditions I’m told and now you have reoffended.

‘The time that you spent in prison, on effectively a 23 hour lockdown will be very different to what they were last year, so I take that into account.’

‘People would say that’s a generous sentence…’

‘Are you fucking joking?’ Payne interjected.

‘Fucking thank you for Covid,’ he continued, pulling his hood over his head and lying down on the police station bench.

‘I’m going back to my slumber,’ he added.

Payne, admitted theft of £95 worth of alcohol from Sainsburys, Streatham, and was ordered to pay a £122 victim surcharge.

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