Army veteran committed Norfolk church thefts with grandson and sold stolen items at car boot sale
PUBLISHED: 08:32 05 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 05 May 2018
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A 72-year-old army veteran responsible for a string of church thefts in Norfolk committed the crimes with his grandson, a court heard.
Nicholas Spidy stole various items - including a £400 cross - from three churches in Broadland last year - just days after Remembrance Sunday.
Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday (May 4) how the pensioner went on to take £160 worth of items from another church three months later.
Spidy, of Britannia Crescent, Wivenhoe, Essex, told police he targeted churches because they were “easy”.
The court heard how he later sold the stolen items at Needham Market car boot sale in Suffolk.
Prosecutor Corrinne Gook-Hurren said Spidy targeted St Margaret’s Church at Upton, near Acle, at some point between November 12 and November 16 last year.
She said he stole a 3ft solid-brass cross, worth £400, from inside.
“He [Spidy] said his grandson had to take it out because it was too heavy for him,” Miss Gook-Hurren said.
On November 14, Spidy stole an ornate oil lamp holder and a brass miller lamp from All Saints Church in Hemblington.
Then, at some point between November 14 and November 16, he took wooden carvings of a bird and a lion from All Saints Church in Beighton.
The court heard how Spidy also stole a brass top from a ceremonial staff, two brass candle stick holders, a glass decanter and a wooden sweeping brush from St Andrews Church in Wickhampton on February 23 this year.
Miss Gook-Hurren said Spidy told police neither he or his grandson were “under duress” to commit the crimes.
“When asked why he did it, he said ‘it is easy’ and that there is rarely anyone at the churches,” Miss Gook-Hurren added.
Annette Hall, mitigating, said Spidy had no previous convictions and worked all of his life.
“He is feeling ashamed by his actions,” she said. “He wishes to apologise to all of those concerned.”
The court heard how Spidy, who has a state pension and military pension, spent 22 years in the army. He retired at 60 due to health problems.
Spidy, who pleaded guilty to four charges of theft by walk-in, was ordered to pay £610 in compensation and £280 for the theft of the brass cross.