Seal Sanctuary thief cleans up act

A SKEGNESS man facing a charge of theft from a local tourist attraction, told magistrates he had been to prison since the offence, and had managed to break free of drugs.

Liam O’Rourke, 37, of St Andrew’s Drive, admitted stealing £80 from Natureland Seal Sanctuary on June 22.

A co-defendant failed to appear and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Nick Todd, prosecuting, said that O’Rourke and his co-defendant went to Natureland at 11.30pm where they tried, and failed, to steal money from the wishing well.

They then broke into a drinks machine, causing £500 worth of damage and stealing £80 in cash.

However, the owner of Natureland had installed a motion detecting camera at the wishing well because of the number of attempts that had been made to steal from it and O’Rourke and his co-defendant were captured on film and later identified by police officers.

O’Rourke was arrested and made a full admission and expressed remorse and regret.

The court was told that on August 15, since the date of this offence, he had been sentenced to eight weeks in custody for theft and an activated suspended sentence.

O’Rourke told the magistrates he had been ‘doing drugs’ but had come out of prison ‘clean’ and was going to start a new job in two weeks.

He asked the magistrates that he be held responsible for the whole of the compensation as his co-defendant had just been following him, but they told him that that was ‘grandiose generosity’ on his part and he should only be responsible for half of it.

They told him they were impressed by his change of course and that his only punishment would be to pay half of the compensation - £290.

They also remitted £1,200 in outstanding fines and costs he had accrued, some of it dating back to 2009.