Man who stole handbag from Ellesmere Port hotel room jailed

A MAN who stole a handbag from an Ellesmere Port hotel guest’s room after the fire alarm went off had only been out of prison for three weeks.

Philip Corbett, 47, of no fixed abode, had previously been imprisoned in 2020 for threatening to rob a taxi driver by holding a knife to the driver’s stomach, to avoid paying a £17 fare.

Three weeks after being released on licence, Corbett – who had been placed at the Mercure Chester North Woodhey House Hotel in Little Sutton – stole the handbag in the offense on September 19.

Corbett, appearing from the cells, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to the crime.

Prosecuting, Tanya Berridge-Burley said the victim had been in her hotel room with a handbag containing a number of personal possessions, including two bank cards, a mobile phone and £50 in cash.

The fire alarm went off at the hotel and she left her room to go to the designated meeting point.

After the fire alarm was deactivated, the victim returned to her room to find her handbag was missing.

Security was informed and CCTV was checked showing Corbett had been into her room and had taken her handbag.

Some of the items which had been in the handbag were found dumped at the end of the corridor, while Corbett had then left the hotel to get in a taxi to head towards Chester.

The victim was informed her bank cards had been used when she went to cancel them.

Corbett, who was out of prison on licence, was recalled.

He had eight previous convictions for 16 offences, including four for theft.

A probation officer said Corbett had previously been released from prison on August 26 and, as part of his recall to prison, he had lost his accommodation as Mercure had withdrawn it.

Amy Williams, defending, said there was “no evidence whatsoever” Corbett had deliberately set off the fire alarm to commit the crime.

He had seen the door was ajar when the woman left the room and it had been an “impulsive” thing to do, with no prior planning.

Magistrates imposed the eight-month prison sentence and ordered Corbett to pay £50 compensation to the victim upon his release, plus a £187 victim surcharge.

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