by Paul Hooper
Hard-centred criminal Christopher Maclean has started a six-year stretch behind bars... thanks to his sweet-tooth!
The 29-year-old convicted robber broke into a house in Florence Court, Cliftonville in September and stole jewellery.
After pocketing a necklace, a bracelet and a console and games, Maclean couldn’t resist a box of Rose’s chocolates ...and left his fingerprints for police to find!
But when officers raided Maclean’s home in Trimble Square, Margate they found more than just a used sweet wrapper - in a car they discovered a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition!
Now Maclean, who admitted burglary, handling stolen goods and possessing an illegal weapon and ammunition, has been jailed for six years and two months at Canterbury Crown Court.
The judge, Recorder Peter Harrison QC told the painter and decorator that in 2006 he had been jailed for five years for taking part in an armed robbery.
“When you were released you made a go of getting a new start with a job and beginning a new relationship. But then you went wrong and returned to a life involving criminality.”
He said that although the weapon was being stored in three pieces “it was available for you to use either offensively or defensively”.
Prosecutor James Ross had told how householder returned to her home and discovered her front door had been kicked in.
“After searching her home she realised that items had been taken and then the householder discovered a tin of Rose’s Chocolates had been moved.
"It was the forensic examination of the tin which revealed Maclean’s fingerprints.”
Police later raided his home in November last year and discovered a computer and tripod which had been stolen 10 days earlier from Canterbury College.
It was then that officers searched a car which Maclean had access to and found the sawn-off shotgun and eight cartridges, which had been stashed in a brown paper bag, in a locked post box inside his flat and on top of a wardrobe.
Hannah Kinch, defending, said the weapon wasn’t loaded, and it had come into Maclean’s possession two weeks prior to the raid after a dispute over drugs with a man called “Shampagne”.