Bungling thief tried to steal church PA system

St Wilfrid's, Preston

St Wilfrid's, Preston

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A bungling thief who tried to steal part of a church’s PA system was foiled by a man who was praying, a court heard.

Anthony Schurock, 38, of Lancaster Road North, Preston, was seen walking into St Wilfrid’s RC Church on Chapel Street, Preston, by a member of the congregation, Preston Magistrates’ Court heard.

During the incident, at 4pm on November 19 last year, the worshipper was suspicious and moved pews to watch what Schurock was doing.

Prosecuting, Philippa Jones said: “He sat next to a Bose speaker which was attached to the wall, and the witness saw him tampering with something at the back.

“When Mr Schurock realised he was being watched he went to the witness and said ‘I’ve got a friend who is sat outside Tesco, he’s suicidal and you need to go and see to him.’

“The witness left the church but when he realised how far Tesco was he went back inside.

“The defendant gave him the same story, but this time the witness called the police.”

Officers arrived at the scene and found the wires at the back of the speaker were cut.

Schurock also admitted stealing £45 of groceries from a shop, putting him in breach of a conditional discharge for begging.

Defending, John Rimmer revealed 11 days after the attempted theft Schurock was struck down with septicaemia and was in hospital for six weeks.

He currently walks with the aid of a cane due to the premature onset of arthritis.

He added: “He has been reliant on street drugs, sometimes able to cope financially, sometimes not able to cope financially.”

The bench ordered him to pay a £200 fine, £50 compensation and £20 surcharge.