Car thief had list of 20 similar offences

A man who has more than 20 previous convictions for taking vehicles without consent has been jailed for 26 weeks.

Christopher James Christian, of James Street, admitted committing the offence again on April 13 and was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Christian, who is 31, also pleaded guilty to charges of driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

Deputy High Bailiff Jayne Hughes said: ‘You drove a stranger’s vehicle knowing you were disqualified and not insured.

‘You have a total of 52 pages of convictions with over 20 for taking vehicles without consent and over 15 for driving when disqualified.

‘It’s an appalling record by anyone’s measure. You were in court for an attempted theft in March and now six weeks later these offences.

‘No-one is writing you off but you are now 31, you need to think about your actions.’

The court heard how Christian had taken a Peugeot van from Cooil Drive in Douglas.

The van was located two days later on Head Road. In it were several McDonald’s fast food wrappers.

Police checked the CCTV footage at McDonald’s drive through on Peel Road and it showed Christian in the van at 5am buying food. He was subsequently arrested.

Christian’s advocate, Andrew Marshall, submitted a basis of plea on behalf of his client which said that the vehicle had been unlocked and that the keys were inside the car. Christian said in the plea that he would not have taken the vehicle had it not been unlocked with the keys in and that he did not intend to damage or sell it. It went on to say that he had only used the car to go to McDonalds to get food and did not touch anything inside.

Mr Marshall said: ‘My client has stopped consuming drugs and alcohol which seemed to be the root of his problems. He has been meeting all of his goals in this regard.

‘Mr Christian has been in custody for seven weeks and four days already. He is on the verge of losing his flat if he receives a longer sentence.

‘He now realises he needs to change his ways. He has spoken to the local housing authority and an eviction process will start if custody is imoposed.

‘He has been visiting the job centre and his brother has offered him employment. His brother has noticed a change in him.

‘His mother and partner are in court and intend to keep a close eye on him to ensure he doesn’t reoffend.’

Christian was sentenced to 26 weeks jail for the taking without consent offence and 18 weeks for driving while disqualified, to run concurrently.

No separate penalty was made for the driving with no insurance offence.

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