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Drug-addict dad stole silver from church.

A DRUG addict stole silverware used in holy communion at a historic North East abbey.

Craig Hand, 24, went to Hexham Abbey with his young son under the premise of lighting a candle and taking part in morning prayers.

But he stole valuable pieces of silver used in religious ceremonies and tried to sell them. Hand then took his young son with him to a toy shop in Hexham and stole three train sets which he later tried to pass off as family heirlooms.

The abbey theft happened on August 13 when churchman Kenneth Milton was in the abbey for morning prayer.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting at Newcastle Crown Court, told how, when police were alerted by clergy members, Hand led them to where he had stashed the silver in nearby undergrowth.

While on bail for that offence, Hand, of Nent Grove, Hexham, went thieving again, once more with his young son in a pushchair with him.

On August 20, he went to Robbs store, in Hexham, and stole three Hornby train sets and a crane worth pounds 123. He took them to a model railway shop in the town and said they had been handed down to him from his grandad and he got pounds 40 for them.

The store owner became suspicious after he left. Police were called and he was again arrested.

Judge David Wood deferred sentence for three months to give Hand a chance to sort himself out and get off drugs.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said: "He is doing everything he can to address his problems. He has a long-standing drugs problem."
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2009
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