Upper Minety alcoholic jailed after stealing beer from a neighbour’s doorstep

A burglar has been jailed after he stole beer from a neighbour’s doorstep a day after he was before the courts for a series of break-ins.

Jailing William Gifford for 12 weeks on Friday, District Judge Anthony Calloway said: “You had your chance on Wednesday and you blew it.”

The 36-year-old had twice broken into a neighbour’s kitchen near his parents’ home in Upper Minety.

He also admitted to twice burgling sheds or outhouses in search of gin and beer.

Appearing before Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court last week he pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary.

He narrowly avoided jail, leaving court with a 16-week suspended sentence and a dire warning from the district judge about what would happen if he committed more crimes.

But two days later he was back in front of the Basingstoke beak via video link from Gablecross police station.

He admitted stealing two boxes of beers from outside another Upper Minety resident’s home.

The court heard the homeowner had had a delivery of beer on June 4. Gifford stole it, although half the consignment was recovered by police.

Gifford was also in breach of a community protection notice given to him on June 2 preventing him from approaching his neighbours’ homes or obtaining alcohol from them. But that charge was not put to him.

Alun Morgan, defending, said his client was well aware that he had been told by the judge on Wednesday he would be jailed if he committed any further offences.

The Minety man, who suffered from Asperger’s syndrome and depression, had a history of alcoholism.

He had been clean for around eight-and-a-half months, thanks to the help of a local Alcoholics Anonymous group.

But around a week ago he had been verbally abused by someone after apologising to the man – a symptom of his Asperger’s.

The incident had seen him spiral back into alcohol abuse.

“He is realistic today about the outcome and recognises it is likely you will activate the term of imprisonment,” Mr Morgan said.

On Wednesday Gifford took the unusual step of addressing the judge directly.

He said: “Over the last eight months I have managed to become an honest human being and that had to come first before my alcoholism got any better. I had to become honest to myself.”

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