Knife man given Christmas reprieve after getting caught while stealing Adele CD from Asda

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A criminal was granted a Christmas reprieve and will not learn whether he is going to jail until after the festive season.

John Wrightson, 43, got himself into trouble when he stole an £11 Adele CD from Asda in Washington last month, which he intended to give a loved one as a Christmas gift.

John Wightson leaves Sunderland Magistrates' Court.

John Wightson leaves Sunderland Magistrates' Court.

On his arrest, on November 13, police discovered he had a folding pocket knife, which he told them he used while gardening, Sunderland magistrates heard.

However, because it is Wrightson’s second conviction of possession of a bladed article, he faces six months inside.

But he will not be sentenced until the New Year, after his solicitor argued that he needs to support his partner and her daughter over Christmas.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “He is seen in Asda. He is stopped and detained and arrested in relation to the theft and of course when he is searched he’s got this knife in his pocket.

The consequences for his partner and her nine-year-old daughter over Christmas would be dire. I ask you to adjourn sentence until after the Christmas-New Year period and to grant him bail

Neil Hodgson, defending

“In interview he said he went to Asda to do some shopping and he picked up the CD and put it in his shopping bag and thought he could perhaps use it as a Christmas gift.”

Wrightson told police he had forgotten he had the 3.5 inch-bladed knife in the pocket of his gardening jacket.

“He is relatively well-known to the courts, you can see that from his record,” Mr Anderson said. “He’s had 47 appearances before the court, but he hasn’t been back since October last year, albeit he did serve a period of imprisonment in that time.”

Wrightson, of Carnation Avenue, Bournmoor, admitted theft and possession of a bladed article.

Neil Hodgson, defending, said: “I’ve represented this defendant, who is now 43 years of age, for many, many years. He’s tried very, very hard indeed to rehabilitate himself. He went through a very difficult divorce a coupe of years ago and there were all sorts of issues.

“Since his last appearance before the court over a year ago, he’s kept himself out of trouble.

“He has started living with a young lady, he is her carer and he needs to be around over the Christmas period. It’s a very fragile situation, it’s like a three-legged stool, everything collapses.

“The consequences for his partner and her nine-year-old daughter over Christmas would be dire. I ask you to adjourn sentence until after the Christmas-New Year period and to grant him bail.”

The bench adjourned sentencing until Monday, January 4.

Wrightson said: “I’m going to write to the store and apologise, send an apology letter.”