Thief caught with drugs used them to self-medicate after brain injury

By Gareth Crickmer

A Sunderland thief caught with drugs used them to self-medicate after a brain injury, a court heard.

Anthony McEvoy, 38, was found with class C drug Etizolam in Coniston Place, Sacristan, Co Durham, on Wednesday, June 3 last year.

But his medical mishap also made him more susceptible to criminal influence, in part leading to other offences, it was said.

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They included pinching hundreds of pounds of booze and razor blades from Sainsbury’s Plains Farm store in Sunderland in two raids days apart.

McEvoy, 38, of Padgate Road, Pennywell, swiped £400 of alcohol on Thursday, February 18.

And he returned on Monday, March 1, making off with a £270 haul, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.

Of the first theft, prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said: “He picked up £400 of wines and spirits, and walked down the freezer aisle and out the fire door.

“He made off in a car. The goods were not recovered.”

And of the second, she added: “He entered the store and selected razor blades and alcohol. He again left by the same fire doors.”

The court heard McEvoy was discovered with the drugs during a police check.

Mrs Yanes Hellevik said: “The defendant and two males were in a vehicle.

“The defendant got out and reached into the pocket of his jacket. He pulled out four small bags, with ten tablets in each.

“He said that he had them because of brain damage and that they weren’t prescribed to him.”

Heather Bolton, defending, said: “He has a brain injury which causes memory loss. He finds it difficult to process information.

“He is remorseful for these offences. He says that his family is embarrassed of him, they believe in doing things right.

“It appears that he is easily led by others. He says that as a result of these offences he’s stopped seeing the people involved.”

McEvoy, who has 33 previous convictions from 98 offences, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs and two charges of theft from a shop.

District Judge Paul Currer sentenced him to an 18-month community order, with a requirement of 40 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service.

He also made McEvoy subject to a six week, 7pm to 7am electronically monitored curfew and ordered him to pay Sainsbury’s £300 compensation.

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