A thief dubbed “Preston’s most despicable man” has been jailed for a fifth time after raiding a charity box for St Ormond Street Hospital.
Carl Mason, 32, has clocked up more than 100 offences, stealing from charity tins in Preston and Burnley to feed his drug addiction.
Now, within days of being released from his fourth prison sentence for charity thefts, Mason was caught on CCTV using special cutters to steal a tin which had been strapped down.
Following his arrest Mason admitted to officers stealing from charity boxes had become “second nature” to him.
Police described him as ‘callous, despicable and beneath contempt’, adding he had ‘taken advantage of the goodwill of his local communities.’
Mason even stole Poppy Appeal tins on the day the country prepared to hold a two minute silence for Armistice Day.
Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said in November, Mason took a Poppy Appeal box from Winckleys Sandwich and Coffee Bar in Preston. Police identified him from CCTV footage.
His latest thefts occurred after he was freed early from one of his custodial sentences. One involved him using special cutters to saw through the straps holding the tins down in shops and a doctors’ surgery.
Mason was given 28 days in jail by Pennine magistrates after stealing cash boxes raising money for patients at a hospice, as well as the Poppy Appeal again.
He admitted three charges of theft and asked for two offences to be considered.
Four of the charity boxes were for Pendleside Hospice in Reedley, Burnley, and one was snatched from a medical practice.