A prolific thief who swiped alcohol from shops – smashing bottles in one and downing wine in another – claimed Elon Musk was controlling his mind.
Ricky Hodgkins, from Margate, told magistrates the business tycoon inserted a chip into his brain which sent him on the chaotic crime spree around his hometown.
The 44-year-old was arrested while targeting five shops in two days, after breaking bottles in Morrisons and stuffing another down his trousers.
Following his arrest, he initially refused to accept responsibility for his actions, instead manifesting a story about Mr Musk controlling his bodily functions with a chip in his head.
But Hodgkins, who has previous convictions for stealing, was sentenced at Margate Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to five counts of thefts.
The court heard last Wednesday how he targeted Morrisons, Savers, Iceland and Aldi over a two-day spree in July.
Prosecutor Terry Knox outlined Hodgkins’ bizarre reason for having initially denied his crimes.
“I was informed that the basis of the defence was that, at the age of four, he had a chip of some sort inserted into him and was being controlled by Elon Musk to commit these offences,” said Mr Knox.
The court heard Hodgkins went to Morrisons in College Walk, Margate, at 5pm and smashed two bottles of alcohol on the floor.
A security guard followed him as he walked across to Iceland and picked up four cans of beer and went to leave.
“He put the cans down and said: ‘I’ve got nothing on me’,” Mr Knox said.
“The security guard approached him and removed a bottle of wine that he had stashed in his trousers.”
The lawyer explained Hodgkins immediately made his way to discount store Savers where he stole a bottle of wine and drank it on-site.
He then moved on to the Aldi supermarket in Zion Place and stuffed a further bottle down his trousers, then left without paying.
Magistrates heard that the following day the thief returned to Savers to snatch yet another bottle, telling staff to “f*** off” before absconding.
Mr Knox said Hodgkins, has a “long history with the courts with 56 theft and kindred offences”.
He initially appeared before magistrates on July 28 where he pleaded not guilty to five theft charges, as well as a similar charge relating to an incident two weeks prior.
Hodgkins had since been held on remand and his solicitor, Gemma Adams, told the court he had decided to change his plea.
“The reason for the delay in this case is that previously Mr Hodgkins had pleaded not guilty as he did not accept that he was in control of his body movements at the time of the offences,” said Ms Adams.
“A psychiatric report was ordered to review him while he was on remand and it said that he presented well and relaxed in prison.
“He described to doctors a chip within his brain, but it was not, in their expert opinions, credible that this would prevent him from being fit to stand trial.
“He has since changed his pleas to guilty. He still doesn’t feel that he was fully in control, but he does apologise for his actions.”
Mitigating, Ms Adams explained that Hodgkins was homeless at the time of his offending and drinking heavily.
But chair magistrate David Graeme said that the crimes had passed the threshold for a custodial punishment.
“We have taken into account your guilty plea, albeit on the day of the trial,” said Mr Graeme.
“For the five charges there will be 28 days imprisonment for each of those offences. So that’s 140 days.
“For the previous single theft from a shop offence there will be another 28 days imprisonment, to run consecutively.
“That is a total of 168 days, but we will consider that to be time served.”
Hodgkins was released immediately following the hearing given time already served on remand.
He was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £650 as well as £16.97 in compensation to two of the shops from which he stole.