Czech man who refused benefits is jailed for shoplifting in Mansfield

09-0565-2''Mansfield Magistrates Court
09-0565-2''Mansfield Magistrates Court

A foreign man who refused to receive benefits because he was determined to find work in Britain has been jailed for persistent shoplifting.

Otakar Zehnula (55) of West field Lane, Mansfield, had been given advice signing up for benefits but refused to take the money, wanting to find employment after arriving from the Czech Republic.

However, with no income at all, he was forced to turn to shoplifting to feed and clothe himself.

Following a series of incidents this year in which he was caught trying to take from shops, he was finally jailed at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court for six weeks.

For his latest theft, he was caught after removing the tags from £80 worth of DVDs and trying to leave Mansfield’s HMV store in the Four Season’s shopping centre.

He had been previously caught in September stealing groceries and the time before that, a T-shirt.

Defending, Marks Stocks, said the motivation for his crimes was down to his financial situation and that whatever he stole was for personal use. He said he had intended to sell the DVDs to feed himself.

He added: “It’s clear he is still in very difficult circumstances. He has now acknowledged that his reasons for coming here have not been successful and he will return to the Czech Republic as soon as possible.”

The magistrates asked for a report from the probation service before sentencing, and they said it was clear community orders, that had been given for previous offences, were not deterring him, and that he was refusing to take the advice and sign up for benefits.

He was given four weeks’ jail for the HMV theft and was re-sentenced on his September theft, for which he got two weeks.