Addict stole phone from child in park
A DRUG addict who robbed a 12-year-old girl then burgled the home of the family who had taken him off the streets, has been jailed for 50 months.
Jonathan Grocott, aged 23, of Louise Street, Burslem, was initially arrested after the 12-year-old's parents tracked him down and called police.
But after admitting the crime and being bailed, he went on to raid the home of his girlfriend's mother.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court was told the defendant had been desperate as he owed drug dealers money.
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And at the hearing, Grocott admitted charges of robbery and burglary.
Prosecutor Heather Chamberlin said: "On July 25, a 12-year-old girl was walking through Tunstall Park with a friend. She saw a woman and two men sitting on a park bench.
"The defendant approached her, asked her the time, then took hold of one arm and snatched a telephone out of her other hand, then ran away.
"She was very distressed. She called her parents and they searched the estate until they found the three people.
"Her father confronted this defendant and searched him. When he didn't find the telephone he said he was calling the police and the defendant ran away."
Police later found the telephone hidden in the bra of one of Grocott's accomplices.
He was arrested by police, but made no comment.
An ID parade was arranged for the next morning, by which time Grocott had shaved off his beard.
However, he was still picked out by the young girl's father.
Grocott admitted the crime and asked for another robbery and three thefts to be taken into consideration.
It was while on bail for this offence that he raided his girlfriend's mother's home – where he was living with them at the time – on September 21.
Ms Chamberlin said: "His girlfriend returned to the house. She saw a man in the alleyway, carrying her pink bag and suitcase.
"She didn't see his face, but he was wearing identical clothing to her boyfriend. She shouted his name and he ran away. She then called him on his phone and he appeared to be breathless."
A window had been smashed and a laptop, Xbox, 20 games and a box containing jewellery was stolen.
Mitigating in the robbery of the 12-year-old, Robert Smith said: "It was a mean offence. Shameless. He had no money, he was desperate."
Addressing the burglary, Mr Smith said: "He breached the trust of his girlfriend and her mother who had put him up in hard times.
"He can only explain that his drug addiction made him desperate. Matters came to a head. He owed drug dealers a significant sum of money."
Sentencing Grocott to 20 months for robbery, and 30 months for burglary, Judge Paul Glenn told him: "The robbery would have been very frightening for the 12-year-old.
"The burglary was a particularly mean offence because the victim was someone you were sharing accommodation with."