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Blackburn dad stole from church's donation boxes
A 45-YEAR-old man who conned his way into a church by saying he wanted to pray for his dead grandmother actually went in to steal from charity boxes.
Blackburn magistrates heard Peter Kevin Williams had been into the same church a week earlier and used gaffer tape to take cash from four boxes.
And when he was arrested in Clitheroe a week later, Williams was again in possession of a roll of the tape.
Williams, 45, of Cherry Lodge, Islington, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal from St Michael and St John RC Church in Clitheroe, theft from charity collections at the church and going equipped for theft. He was sent in custody to Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the first theft came to light when a parishioner emptying the collections realised the contents were less than usual.
Miss Allan said: “The church is fitted with Closed Circuit TV, which showed Williams tampering with four boxes.”
A week later, Williams approached the priest saying his grandmother had died and asked if he could pray in the church.
Miss Allan said: “The priest saw Williams tampering with boxes on CCTV. When he was challenged, he ran off.
“Because of the nature of the thefts, it would be hard to quantify exactly how much was stolen.”
Gareth Price, defending, said in the past, Williams had problems with heroin addiction but had managed to deal it.
He said: “His ex-wife, the mother of his four children, passed away four weeks ago and it may be that that has knocked him off the straight and narrow.”
Fr John Corcoran said: “I condemn his actions because incidents such as these are forcing church buildings to close their doors to the public.”