Cirencester man Christopher Edwards jailed after flouting chance of freedom

A 27-year-old Cirencester man who stole from his stepfather has been jailed at last - after flouting his chance of freedom three times.

Christopher Edwards, of Upper Churnside, Cirencester, had received a community order in April last year after he admitted two charges of theft from his stepdad, who lives in Nailsworth.

Edwards had also admitted two offences fraud and asked for six other offences to be taken into consideration.

He breached it on 15th September last year by failing to keep appointments with his supervisors - and then again on November 9th.

On both those occasions Gloucester crown court court gave him further chances and allowed the order to continue.

But today after admitting his third breach he was told by Judge Jamie Tabor QC he had reached the end of the road and would have to go to jail.

The judge sentenced him to 7 weeks imprisonment - telling him he would be out after three and a half weeks and he hoped he would be able to keep his £17,000 a year job as a factory supervisor in Cheltenham.

Edwards' case has been listed at court earlier this week but he failed to attend and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He had sent a message saying he could not attend because his boss was in Poland ahd he had to run the factory.

Today probation officer Patrick Tracy told the court that Edwards had 'various problems' with accomodation, his relationship and his employment and had allowed these to take precedence over complying with the terms of his community order.

The probation service had heard nothing at all from him since he was last in court in November, said Mr Tracy.

Defence counsel Simon Phillips said Edwards had been 'putting his head in the sand.'

"All he had to do was ring the probation service and it might not have come to this," he said.

At one stage Edwards had been kicked out of home and was homeless for three weeks, 'sofa surfing', he said.

"Now his stepfather, who he stole from three times, has let him go back to live at his house."

Jailing Edwards, Judge Tabor said "We have all bent over backwards to help you and you have cocked a snook at the court. This is your third breach and it is behaviour which cannot be ignored. You and you alone are to blame."

The court had been told in April that Edwards stole £2,500 in total, having taken cheques from his stepfather Michael Gardiner's office at the family home in Nailsworth.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Gardiner said he had always treated Edwards as his own son and had helped him financially in the past. His betrayal of trust had left him feeling angry and upset.

When Edwards was sentenced the court was told he had got a job as a technical support engineer and was in a position to repay the losses.

As part of his original sentence he was ordered to undergo an 18 months community order with 18 months supervision and to attend the Thinking Skills programme.

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