Man jailed for stealing charity boxes in Burgess Hill

Derrick Matthews. Photo provided by Sussex Police
Derrick Matthews. Photo provided by Sussex Police

A 59-year-old man has been jailed for stealing charity boxes in Burgess Hill.

Derrick Matthews has been given an eight-month prison sentence for the thefts, police said.

He had also been linked to stolen tins from businesses in Eastbourne, Rye and Hailsham.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “On Wednesday, August 22, officers received a call from a member of the public to report a man acting suspiciously in Eastbourne.

“Police officers attended and were able to identify Derrick Matthews as the suspect in CCTV footage of the theft of charity tins.

“Matthews, 59, had been linked to stolen tins from businesses in Eastbourne, Rye, Hailsham, Burgess Hill, and Roberstbridge from November 2017 until May.

“He was arrested by officers and charged with eight counts of theft by walk-in.”

Matthews, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Friday, August 24, where he pleaded guilty to all charges, police said.

He was given a four-week prison sentence for each charge to run consecutively, totalling 32 weeks.

Investigating officer Anna Archer said: “Any theft is unacceptable but stealing money from a charity is particularly abhorrent.

“Matthews conducted his thefts in a calculated manor and in turn, caused a lot of distress from his behaviour.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the member of the public who called us to report his suspicious behaviour and sub sequentially allowing us to identify Matthews.

“We also had many calls from other members of the public identifying Matthews in the CCTV video we published on our website, which aided our investigation.

“The sentence Matthews received shows the severity of the case and should send a warning to everyone that we do not rule out investigating certain crime types and we will get the best outcomes where the greatest harm has been caused.”

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