A THIEF stole a collection box from Salisbury Cathedral to buy drugs and fish and chips, a court heard. Jason James Burrows, 27, stole the collection box containing £48 using bolt cutters he found in a ditch, Salisbury Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

He spent some of the money in a fish and chip shop later that day and the rest on cannabis.

The cathedral staff weren't aware the box had been stolen and police only knew about the theft because Burrows went to confess at the police station a few weeks later. Burrows, of Essex Square, Harnham was also in court for criminal damage and assault, which happened on February 22 at Tesco in Southampton Road.

A security guard spotted Burrows on CCTV as he tried to break open a security case, and went to confront him.

He tried to leave the store but when the security guard prevented him he tripped him over and the pair ended up on the floor, leaving the victim with a sore back. Paul Jones, defending, said Burrows had problems dealing with his emotions and drinking too much after breaking up with his girlfriend.

“He has made considerable strides forward since that time,” said Mr Jones. “He was sensible enough to realise things were getting on top of him and he confessed to a crime the police knew nothing about.”

Burrows was already the subject of a community order for previous offences and the court heard he has been working well with probation services and is addressing his alcohol and drug use.

Magistrates gave Burrows, who admitted theft, assault and criminal damage, a 12-month community order with supervision and a keeping calm programme as well as a curfew for five months.