Former soldier raided indoor market stall on four occasions

Chorley's covered market
Chorley's covered market

A former soldier injured in Afghanistan has admitted breaking into Chorley’s covered market four times in just over two weeks.

Joshua Cunningham, 20, of Fell View, Chorley, stole clothes and other items worth nearly £2,000 when he got inside the market in January.

He targeted the same clothing stall, run by Malook Hussain, four times.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, told Chorley Magistrates’ Court that Cunningham took clothes worth £450 overnight on January 14. He climbed on a box next to the market, up some step-ladders and on to the roof, before dropping down a gap into the clothing stall.

Mrs Yates said Cunningham used his mobile phone as a torch to look around.

He used JD drawstring sports bags to carry the stolen clothes, as well as bin liners from a roll inside the bags.

He returned on January 17 to take clothes worth £750, on January 22 he stole clothes worth £215 and on January 29 he took clothes worth £496.

Items worth £76, including e-cigarettes and lighter fluid, were also stolen from an e-cigarette stall.

On January 31, police visited Cunningham’s home and found some of the items.

Mrs Yates read a statement from Mr Hussain, which said that after the first burglary, he woke up each morning feeling “anxious” and dreaded going into work in case there had been another break-in.

He said: “This whole upset has caused my life to be disrupted and I am still trying to recover from the stress.”

David Edwards, defending, said Cunningham had been serving in Afghanistan as an infantryman, when he was shot in the hip and returned home last year.

He said: “He found it increasingly difficult to settle down to civilian life, and has been struggling financially.

“He is of no fixed abode - he stays at his grandmother’s most of the time.”

Cunningham pleaded guilty to entering the market and stealing clothes worth £450, and asked for four similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Magistrates decided he should be sentenced at Preston Crown Court and the case was adjourned until March 31.