Apparently, CCTV covering one of the main shopping streets in Wolverhampton picked up a chap who seemed to have lost something on the ground and was having difficulty finding it. Eye witnesses confirmed the CCTV operator's opinion and also added some flesh to the bones as it were.
The chap had dropped his wallet and it was mere inches from his left foot but he seemed to be in difficulties, one of the people who came forward as a witness said in his statement that he shouted across to the chap that the wallet was just by his left foot.
The chap then replied: "Thanks mate, I can't see it as I'm blind, you've been very helpful."
At these words, a passer by bent down and, picking up the wallet, made off with it.
By this time is appears that several people were now aware of the blind chap's plight and didn't take kindly to the outrageous theft, and were able to stop the defendant within only a few tens of yards. The CCTV operator had followed the incident so with that and the witness statements, we were able to construct an unusually complete and detailed picture of events.
Not the least of which is the method by which the defendant was stopped, brought to the ground and and subsequently robustly encouraged to remain prone, pending the arrival of the Police a few minutes later.
The defendant was arrested and conveyed to the Police station... via some several hours in the A & E department of New Cross Hospital.
I would have to say, in all fairness, that he didn't look in the best of health when he stood before us in the dock in Court 8 this morning.
The CCTV operator was able to make a positive identification of the defendant from the high quality CCTV images as were several eye witnesses.
We were led to believe that there was some talk about an assault on the defendant but the CCTV operator felt unable to make any positive identifications owing to the poor, granular quality of the CCTV images. Apparently none of the eye witnesses saw anything of an assault either.
As a Bench we thought it unwise and inappropriate to probe any further, especially after the Police made it clear that there was insufficient evidence to justify any further investigation.
The defendant had an unenviable previous record for like offences, being on a suspended sentence at the time of this offence, which we activated and therefore we felt able to proceed to sentence without recourse to a pre-sentence report. He will be spending Christmas, and the New Year in custody and may just get out in time for Summer, even with full remission.