A SERIAL offender must undergo drug treatment after he admitted stealing a charity box.

Ashley Lane took the Air Ambulance charity tin from the Nationwide branch on Regent Street in the town centre on March 17.

It contained around £100, Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard last Thursday (May 12).

He also admitted stealing ten packs of ham, alongside various cheese and other meat items, valued at £47 from Morrisons on Victoria Road in Old Town on April 3.

The 35-year-old was on a suspended sentence at the time of the offences, having been convicted in December of theft and possession of Class C drugs.

Lane, of Sheppard Street, was given a 12-month community order, which included a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement, as well as 20 rehabilitation activity days.

Court costs and the victim surcharge were waived.

The case came just weeks after he was jailed for failing to attend probation meetings whilst he was in hospital.

The 35-year-old failed to attend a number of appointments with the probation service in the months after his release from prison in June last year.

He had been receiving treatment for leg ulcers and deep vein thrombosis at the time, but failed to tell probation or provide medical evidence in time, resulting in them activating proceedings.

His barrister, Tony Novogrodski, called it a “very sad state of affairs” in the hearing on April 28.

“I think this is the lowest he has sunk in recent times," he said.

“To put matters mildly, I think he would have benefitted enormously from contact because there are many things going on in his life.”

He said: “Whilst in hospital I can tell you for a fact he was surrounded by telephones. All he needed to do was pick up the phone and say' I’m in hospital'.

“He didn’t think to do it, and here we are. What a silly thing to do.

“He thought he was morally not guilty because he said he can go back to the hospital and can get the evidence. But be that as it may, he missed the meetings and didn’t provide the evidence within time.”

Sentencing him Lane to two weeks in prison, chairman of the bench Simon Wolfensohn said: “Regrettably there has to be a limit as to what we can put up with.”

But Lane already stormed out of the dock by the time the sentence was passed.