Drunken thief stole Santa costume from washing line

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

The Barnstaple man did not know he had committed the crime until he woke up dressed as Santa - in the middle of June.

A DRUNKEN man who stole a Santa suit off a washing line had no idea of the crime he had committed until he woke up dressed as Father Christmas.

Leon Earls, 20, of Broadclose Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty to stealing the £20 suit which he then wore for some time on the evening of June 9.

Laurence Overend, defending, said: “The first time he realised what had happened was when he woke up fully dressed in a Santa costume.

“In the middle of June, that must have been a surprising sight that greeted him.”

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Earls proceeded to dispose of the suit when he realised it was stolen from a clothing line.

Mr Overend called the theft a ‘prank gone wrong’ and said Earls was very remorseful and had since apologised to the family to which the suit belonged.

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Earls appeared in court today (Fri) charged with the theft and another matter of assault, which he pleaded guilty to.

The court heard Earls and his now ex-girlfriend had been having an argument over Rizla papers in the Sticklepath area of Barnstaple.

The prosecution alleged Earls grabbed Miss Sherbourne’s neck as she walked away, but he pleaded guilty on the basis that he grabbed her arm.

Magistrates heard Earls had seven previous convictions, and after a fast delivery report from probation ordered him to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

The court issued a restraining order against Earls not to contact his ex-girlfriend for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £20 compensation for the Santa costume.

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