Dagenham drinker broke into car to roll cigarette out of rain

A BINGE-drinker broke into the car of a cancer sufferer to roll a cigarette and caused hundreds of pounds damage, magistrates were told.

Joe Morrell, 25, of Woodward Road, Dagenham, pleaded guilty to criminal damage at a hearing at Barking Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard the carpentry trainee was binge-drinking on October 2, when the incident happened.

Ricky Mallia had left his mother’s car in front of an address in Croppath Road, Dagenham and then went to visit her while she was in hospital suffering from throat cancer.

At around 2.10am, a neighbour heard a noise and looked out of the window to see Morrell sitting in the driver’s seat and she dialled 999.

Later she saw him get out of the car and walk away.

Crown prosecutor Marcia Evans said: “Police were called and they saw the defendant hiding behind the car. He was later identified as the person who broke into the vehicle.”

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She said the �540 damage was covered by the insurance company, but the car has since been written off because it was beyond economical repair.”

The car’s damage was estimated at �540, and an insurance excess of �250 had to be paid.

The duty solicitor said: “Mr Morrell told me this morning that he was drunk on the day in question. He was walking along the road and it was raining.

“He could vaguely remember rolling a cigarette in the car and left the car.

“He had no intention to steal the car. It was an action he has taken out of stupidity.”

He said Morrell had been under the influence of alcohol and added: “He feels ashamed of his behaving in that manner on the day in question.

“He has learned his lesson in relation to binge-drinking and said he would not do it again.

“He will even write an apology letter to the victim for behaving in that manner.”

Magistrates heard that Ricky Mallia’s mother has since died.

They fined Morrell �100 for the offence of criminal damage. He will also have to pay �85 towards court costs, a �15 victim surcharge and the �250 excess on the car’s insurance policy.