CCTV caught St Neots man stealing from church honesty box

10:00 04 October 2012

Archant

A ST Neots man has admitted stealing money from a church honesty box.

Christopher Penhall, of Hampden Way, Eynesbury, was caught on CCTV taking the money from the All Saints Church, Grafham, book sale fund on August 8 and August 23.

Paul Brown, prosecuting, said Penhall had stolen £2.40 on the first occasion and £3.40 the second.

He added that the 45-year-old stole the money because he was aggrieved the church hadn’t taken up his offer of grass cutting.

He added that Penhall had previously been convicted of shoplifting but hadn’t offended since 2010.

In mitigation Peter Vialls said that his client had regularly attended the church for the last three years, contributing to the church funds throughout.

He told Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (September 27): “He has broken his back and has three fractured vertebrae.

“On August 8, my client had travelled to Peterborough for a tribunal to see if he could claim mobility allowance.

“He had to spend £40 on taxi fares and at the end of the day the claim wasn’t resolved.

“He wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. He went to the church on his way back to pray.

“He had no money and he was feeling aggrieved for his services around the church grounds being turned down, so he took some money form the box to get some food.

“On August 23, he was still in financial difficulty and, although he knew that he was receiving mobility allowance after a second hearing, he wasn’t sure when he would get the money, so he again took money from the box.”

Mr Vialls added: “He is deeply ashamed of his actions and is unable to look into people’s eyes at the church.”

Magistrate Sandy Chapman gave Penhall a 12-month conditional discharge for the two charges of theft and ordered him to pay £5.80 compensation to the church and £85 costs.

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