‘Free spirit’ Navy veteran locked up for stealing food

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A former naval officer who chose to live life on the street as a ‘free spirit’ was sentenced after stealing from a service station.

Colin Williams, aged 64, took a pasta dish from Greggs at the Moto service station on the M18 on Tuesday.

Doncaster Magistrates’ Court heard Williams had set off walking from London to Edinburgh at Christmas and is sleeping at service stations en route. Prosecuting Justin Bullas said Williams had been allowed to sleep in a chair at the service station overnight.

But the next day he had helped himself to a pasta dish and when he was challenged about paying was abusive to the staff member.

Speaking in mitigation Andrew Bostock said: “He spent time in the Navy and when he left decided to live life as a free spirit. For the past 16 to 17 years he’s had no real place to call home and lives a very nomadic lifestyle. This is a life he’s chosen to live, he has no income and does not intend to draw one from the state.”

Mr Bostock said Williams usually ate food discarded by shops but on this occasion he felt stealing was his only option.

Williams admitted theft and was sentenced to a day’s detention, deemed served by time he had spent in custody.