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Heroin addict to serve eight months for damage to church in Manchester

18 September 2020

Creative Commons

Manchester Crown Court

Manchester Crown Court

A HEROIN addict who broke into a church in Manchester, causing £3500 of damage, has been sentenced to eight months in prison for the offence.

Gary Fleming, aged 56, smashed a stained-glass window and damaged a 500-year-old door when he broke into Christ Church, Harpurhey, one Sunday in January. He told Manchester Crown Court this week that he had been living across the road with other addicts and had intended to steal money for drugs. He took a sound mixer worth £500, a vacuum cleaner worth £200, and a box of mince pies.

Fleming, who had committed 77 previous offences since he was 15, also damaged a burglar alarm and a fire-exit door. He was seen on CCTV and, after cutting himself on broken glass, left a trail of blood that was later DNA-matched. He was arrested in Salford earlier this year and pleaded guilty to burglary.

His lawyer told the court that the defendant had no recollection of the break-in and was “ashamed”. Sentencing Fleming, previously of Leicester Road, Salford, Judge Michael Leeming said that churches “should be respected as a place of worship”.

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