Thief stole precious pictures

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A man who admitted stealing numerous items including an envelope full of family photographs has been spared prison.

Matthew Collins, from Up Holland, was given a suspended prison sentence at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to stealing the envelope, a briefcase and a lanyard from a black Vauxhall Zafira as it was parked on a drive.

The court heard the incident occurred at an address on Longshaw Common in Billinge overnight between September 10 and 11, with the theft being noticed by the car owner when she went outside in the morning and discovered the contents of the car strewn around the inside.

Collins, of Danbars, was did not keep hold of the items he had stolen, with the envelope full of sentimental photographs being located underneath a nearby bush and the briefcase recovered from a neighbour’s bin.

Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told the court Collins, 22, was identified as the thief by police officers after fingerprints found on the photographs matched his in the database.

Collins replied he had no comment when questioned by police, but pleaded guilty to the theft at the earliest opportunity.

Mrs Beattie said: “The victim does not know the defendant and it has upset her that someone has been in her vehicle and stolen these items, especially the envelope which was taken from the glovebox.”

Mike Flynn, defending, told the court Collins had a history of offending but a report prepared by the probation service showed he was working hard to try and keep himself out of trouble.

Mr Flynn said: “The report seems to suggest a change in the level of maturity in this young man. He has complied well with the probation service and is also working with the local police.”

Collins was sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.