Man stole taxi driver’s earnings in McDonald’s by placing tin down his trousers, court hears

Bury Magistrates Court ENGANL00120121025093615
Bury Magistrates Court ENGANL00120121025093615

A Bury St Edmunds man has admitted taking a tin containing a taxi driver’s earnings when he became distracted in McDonalds.

Prosecutor Stephen Colman told Bury St Edmunds Magistrate’s Court today (Monday) taxi driver Matthew Benton had become distracted by a phone call while inside the McDonalds restaurant in Cornhill on September 18 and, when his food arrived, left without a metal tin containing £150 of his earnings.

The court heard CCTV footage showed 42-year-old Neil Charles, of Beaumont Close, noticing the tin, ordering a drink, and “loitering” near it, before placing it down his trousers and leaving.

The money had been spent on food, animal feed and takeaways, although not all of the cash had been used.

Claire Lockwood, in mitigation, said: “He (Mr Charles) had been made aware when he went home that police had been knocking on the door.”

“He did not know who the owner of the tin was or what was inside it.”

She said Mr Charles subsequently handed himself into the police, believing he was thought to be wanted. Mr Charles had informed a member of McDonald’s staff about the tin on the counter at the time of the incident but nothing was done, she added.

Mr Charles pleaded guilty to theft by finding and was ordered to pay costs of £425, including £160 in compensation to Mr Benton, for the value of the earnings and the tin.