Man with 41 jail sentences stole wallet from church-goer

A callous crook who stole a man’s wallet as he sat in a Sunday church service was today jailed.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 12:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 12:08 pm
John Copeland stole Craig Miller's wallet as he sat in the St Andrews Baptist Church. Picture: Google

John Copeland – who has served 41 previous prison sentences – snuck into the Baptist Church in South Street, St Andrews, and stole Craig Miller’s wallet as he sat through the worship service.

He then went to a nearby Morrison’s supermarket and racked up a £154.30 bill using the contactless card - splitting up the purchases into smaller groups to get them under the £30 limit.

The theft came after another identical theft weeks earlier in which he stole a man’s wallet from a car and used it to steal £200.92 worth of items from shops in the town.

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Copeland (41) a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and three of fraud committed on November 26 and December 2 last year.

Defence solicitor David Bell said: “He has a longstanding heroin problem and had drifted back into that last summer.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown jailed Copeland for a total of 16 months.

He said: “People ought to be able to go to places of worship – Christian or otherwise – without worrying that someone is going to come in off the street and search through their property.”

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