A man was jailed for stealing wine, whiskey and collection money from a Catholic Church residence in Croydon.
William Stanley, 40, of Selhurst New Road, was sentenced to three years imprisonment on November 27 following a three-day trial at the Old Bailey where he was found guilty of burglary.
Stanley smashed a window to break into the home of Father Paddy Cannon, next to St Dominic’s Church in Waddon. He stole almost £80 of collection money that had been donated to the church, along with bottles of whiskey and wine that had been given to the priest as gifts.
A blood-stained tissue was found at the scene and forensic analysis showed that it had Stanley’s DNA on it.
The burglary took place overnight between June 10 and 11, only weeks after Stanley visited the residence and received support and money from Cannon.
Cannon told EastLondonLines that he regularly receive visits from people who are “hard up” and in need. He added: “Some of them are real scams but of course I don’t realise until after it’s happened. Some people come looking for money for things like train fares.”
Cannon had only met Stanley on one occasion prior to the crime and had spoken to him for about ten minutes.
Apart from the broken window, no significant damage was caused to the rectory. Cannon said: “Luckily I had locked the doors to the dining room, if he had gotten through to the other rooms then a lot more might have been damaged.”
There are at least eight churches within a 15 minute walk of Stanley’s home in Selhurst. St Dominic’s Church is approximately three miles away.
Detective Constable Simon Nicholls said: “[Stanley] visited the priest a few weeks before and had been given a glass of water and some coins by the priest after learning about his apparent hardship.
“The fact that he turned on someone [who] had offered him help and support and thought to steal from him is a terrible thing. He’ll now be spending a considerable time behind bars where he will be able to reflect on his actions.”
Stanley’s conviction also activated a 16-week prison sentence linked to a previous conviction of shoplifting that had previously been suspended.