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'I am freezing, and need to get arrested'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

A HOMELESS man broke into a car, in the hope of staying there overnight or being arrested to escape from the cold.

Royston Tristram, 39, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the Land Rover Discovery which was parked outside St Mary's Church in the city centre on November 28, while its owner had gone to socialise in Wind Street.

Swansea Magistrates Court was told police officers on patrol discovered Tristram with his legs hanging from the vehicle, and the car's alarm sounding, after he had broken a window with a brick, and was climbing in.

Prosecuting, Anwen Evans said when confronted by officers, Tristram told them: "I am freezing, and need to get arrested for the night."

Tristram, of no fixed abode, was represented by Stuart John.

Mr John told the court that Tristram had a history of offending largely linked to heroin addiction, and that he had been staying with friends.

However, he added: "It is a sad state of affairs. He has no-one he can rely on.

"He had no intention of stealing the car, he just wanted to sleep. It was very, very cold, and he felt he could not sleep rough.

"He took the option that it was better to break into a car, rather than sleep in the cold."

The court was also told the offence was a breach of an earlier conditional discharge handed to Tristram.

District judge Vivian Manning-Davies told him: "I have got to know you over the last three years, and yours is a very sad case.

"I know how cold it was, it was the first blast of winter,

"I know the reason would have been because it was so cold.

"But on the other hand, you cause inconvenience, distress and cost to people by damaging their property.

"You must have caused great distress to the owner coming back to find his vehicle.

"The courts have struggled to deal with you, but simply to send you into custody would not help you or society."

Tristram was given a conditional discharge for the offence for six months. But for breaching his suspended sentence order meant the period of the order would be extended from 12 to 15 months.

Mr Manning-Davies added: "I can't make you pay compensation because you simply do not have the money, or for costs.

"But if there are further breaches you will be forcing the court to send you into prison."

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