Man pleads guilty to theft after claiming innocence

Interior of Audi car. Pic: Robert Basic

Interior of Audi car. Pic: Robert Basic

A man claimed his innocence before changing his plea to guilty at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday last week after he was was told the case against him was “overwhelming.”

Dean Burton, 36, pleaded guilty to stealing two windscreens worth £800 from SG Smith car dealership in Croydon Road on February 1 this year.

The court heard that Burton was seen on CCTV taking the two windscreens from the Audi car dealership. When stopped later by police, Burton said he thought the stolen goods had been abandoned.

Judge Gold warned Burton’s lawyer that the case was “overwhelming” and that “he [Burton] needs to bite the bullet.”

Burton replied from the dock: “I believe I am innocent.”

Judge Gold then advised Burton to speak to his lawyer before giving his plea.

After speaking to Burton, his lawyer told Judge Gold that he was concerned that if he pleaded guilty, he would be detained today.

Judge Gold replied that he had concerns that Burton was “trying to play the system.”

After a second conversation with his lawyer, Burton changed his plea to guilty.

The court heard that he had 23 previous convictions, 17 related to theft.

Burton was bailed to his home address to reappear for sentencing on April 8.

“You must not assume that as I am adjourning for a presentencing hearing, that the sentencing judge will do anything other than give a custodial sentence,” said Judge Gold.

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