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Llandeilo man's job saves him from prison

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 03, 2013

By Ruth mosalski

A LLANDEILO man who stole a crate of beer has avoided a prison term after a judge gave him a "final chance".

Andrew O'Connor was subject to a suspended sentence when he stole the crate of beer from CK's supermarket in Llandeilo.

He said he stole the beer to sell so he could pay his bus fare to his place of work in a call centre — a job which saved him from receiving a prison term.

Prosecutor Tom Scapens said O'Connor, 25, had admitted going into the store and choosing the beer before exiting through a rear door on May 18.

He then sold the beer to someone else for £20 but would not say who.

O'Connor, of Talardd Villas Ffairfach, had been given a 32 week sentence which was suspended for 18 months in January this year after admitting burglary and theft.

He had also been told to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

James Hartson, for O'Connor told Judge Paul Thomas his client was in "grave danger" of having that term activated.

The judge replied: "He seems to be determined to go back to prison."

Mr Hartson asked the judge not to impose the term.

"He instructs me that he stole to pay his bus fare to and from his place of work because he was concerned not to lose his employment," said Mr Hartson.

He said his client has already repaid the £27.99 owed to the store and written a letter of apology to the owner.

He said O'Connor had begun completing the unpaid work and had completed 18 hours already.

"His compliance of that order is positive," he said.

"I am asking for a final chance to allow him to comply," added Mr Hartson.

Judge Thomas said: "I have no doubt when you were sentenced to that suspended sentence the judge imposing it told you if you breached it, you'd go to prison."

"You decided to take that chance.

"It seemed to me when I read the papers there was no option but to send you to prison. If you commit the offence that blatantly after a suspended sentence, you can't expect anything other than to go prison," he said.

But the judge said during the hearing he had been told O'Connor had got a job and that had changed his mind.

"If you are in employment the chances of you committing offences and being a nuisance to society are reduced," he said.

"When I say one last chance Mr O'Connor, I mean just that. You won't got another one."

He was told he will be subject to a curfew between 9pm and 6am for two months for both the offence of theft and the breach of the order.

"I wouldn't take a chance again if I were you," warned the judge.

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