A crack cocaine user who committed a string of crimes to fund his addiction is finally knuckling down, seeking to change his ways, a court was told.
Jordan Armstrong broke into a primary care health centre and stole a Harley Davidson motor bike, among a series of offences committed earlier this year.
But with his case looming for sentence at Durham Crown Court, shortly before Christmas, he managed to go drug-free for a month, in what his counsel said may be, “a real turning point in his life”.
The 22-year-old defendant was before the court after admitting three burglaries, theft from a parked van and riding a motor bike without insurance or a licence.
Mathew Simpson, prosecuting, said the bulk of the offences, including burglaries from a garden shed and summer house, in Houghton-le-Spring and nearby Woodstone Village, were committed between July 25 and 28.
In one of them he stole a Harley Davidson motor bike, valued at £15,000, which was later recovered by the owner.
It also included the theft of £860-worth of alcohol from a summer house and tools, valued at more than £3,000, from a parked vehicle.
Mr Simpson said several weeks later Armstrong was caught driving a green Benelli motor bike on Yarm Road, Darlington, without insurance or a licence.
The final crime in the spree, which came after a previous court appearance, was the break-in at Houghton-le-Spring Primary Care Centre, in which he unsuccessfully tried to steal money from the cafeteria till, having kicked the door in to gain access, causing £469-worth of damage, on October 20.
Katie Spence, in mitigation, said many of the crimes were committed while Armstrong was under the influence of drink and drugs.
“In interview he was full and frank about that.
“These are offences committed entirely on impulse and to fund quite a big drink and drug habit.
“He’s a young man, at 22, who, although he has been before the courts before, these are certainly the most serious matters he has faced.
“He’s found himself in a bit of a drug rush in recent years and became addicted to crack cocaine.
“He’s been clean for a month but fears it may be too late given the damage to his reputation.
“He speaks openly about addressing his drug problem.
“He does say he’s been drug-free for a month and it’s been a real turning point for him.”
Miss Barnes said the defendant, whose address was given by the court as South View Terrace, Chilton Moor, Houghton-le-Spring, has recently moved back in with his farming father.
She said he has performed manual labour on the farm, which has been, “a real stabilising influence” for the defendant.
“He’s been going down a pretty unpleasant road, but he’s at a fork in that road which he completely acknowledges.”
Recorder Tom Moran said there must have been, “a degree of planning” with some of the offending, particularly the theft of the motor bike, although, on his own admission, the defendant was, “off his head”, when he kicked the door in at the health centre.
If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here
The Recorder said the public would think the defendant “richly deserved” an immediate prison sentence, but he appears to have made, “dramatic improvement” in his lifestyle and attitude over recent weeks.
He said this just allowed him to pass a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, to include completion of 50 rehabilitation activity days with the Probation Service.
Armstrong must also comply with a six-month drug testing and rehabilitation requirement, with monthly reviews at the court to check his progress.