Games machine raided at Hull's Perth Street Club ... just after it had been emptied
A BURGLAR stole £80 from a charity jar in a bungled raid on a social club.
Jeffrey Smith, 32, broke into Perth Street Club in Hull, hoping to steal from its games machine.
But it had been emptied just before the raid and there was only £5 inside, so he took the charity jar.
Smith, of Camerton Grove, off De La Pole Avenue, west Hull, pleaded guilty to the burglary at Hull Crown Court.
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The honorary Recorder of Hull and East Riding, Judge Michael Mettyear, said: "Not only did you take money from the games machine, you took money that had been set aside for charity."
The cash Smith stole would have gone towards children's Christmas parties.
It had been donated by members and staff at the social club.
Owner Joan Leake discovered the burglary after being told the alarm had been activated.
Smith left an axe used for the break-in behind, which police were able to link to him through forensic evidence.
His burglary caused £246 of damage.
Smith also asked the court to take into consideration a theft from a Hull petrol station.
He stole cigarettes but dropped them as he made his escape. Judge Mettyear said: "You have got a bad record, going back a long way.
"You're a persistent criminal.
"You've been given lots of chances over the years.
"Nothing seems to really deter you very long once you're back on the streets."
Smith was in breach of a suspended sentence handed to him in May last year for breaking into an off-licence.
He also has a string of previous convictions for other burglaries.
Judge Mettyear sent him to prison for 18 months.
Smith's lawyer, Victoria Kirk, defending, said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
She also said Smith had no drink or drug problems and had stolen the money to settle debts.
He claimed he was being followed by men he had borrowed from and needed to pay them off.
Miss Kirk said: "He entered his guilty plea at the Magistrates Court at the earliest opportunity.
"The offences themselves he accepts by virtue of his guilty plea. He commits them out of absolute desperation.
"He is engaging in education to improve his employability."
She said the petrol station theft had been a fruitless crime.
Miss Kirk said: "He dropped the cigarettes leaving the scene of the garage and made off with no property whatsoever."
She said his actions were "ill thought-out" and "not sophisticated in any way".
Smith had completed the supervision and unpaid work requirements from his earlier sentence, the court was told.
He broke into the club on the night of Monday, September 17.
The judge also ordered him to pay £100 costs.