A man faces jail after admitting breaking in to Maidstone Mosque and stealing three charity collection boxes.
As he was led from the dock in handcuffs a characteristically chirpy Peter Griffiths called out to magistrates: “Have a nice day, it’s been emotional.”
The 49-year-old was due to stand trial at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court last Thursday for stealing nine Swarovski pens when he changed his plea and also admitted burgling the mosque and stealing a handbag.
A fourth charge of stealing a bottle of Moet from London Road’s Majestic Wines was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service due to lack of evidence.
Griffiths, formerly of Quarry Road, and an accomplice broke in to the town’s Islamic Centre, in Mote Road, through the female prayer entrance in December.
Donation boxes which contained an unknown amount of money were ripped from the wall.
Initially he denied being present but told the police during interview he would occasionally sleep in churches and mosques as they were often left open overnight.
The pens, worth £239, were taken from H Samuel in Ashford last July and the bag was stolen from Cafè Nero, in Maidstone’s King Street, in February.
Following that offence Griffiths was confronted by a PCSO who told him a wedding ring was in the bag.
Ten minutes later he phoned the officer and told him the ring would be found behind the wheel of a parked car in Wyke Manor Road.
He was later questioned and answered “no comment” to most questions but when quizzed about the ring replied: “It would be nasty to deprive a person of their wedding ring, wouldn’t it?”.
Griffiths, who is currently in custody for a unrelated offence, will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on a date to be decided.