Doncaster man jailed for using ‘universal key’ to steal thousands of pounds from vending machines

A Doncaster man who stole thousands of pounds by breaking into vending machines using a ‘universal key’ has been jailed for more than two years.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 09:54 am
Porter was sentenced during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court today (Friday, May 3)

Between October 2018 and January 2019, Daniel Porter stole approximately £5,000 from vending machines located at commercial premises, the majority of which were either gyms or leisure centres, in Doncaster; Barnsley; Chesterfield; Derby; Nottingham and Birmingham.

James Gould, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court that Porter, of Gattison Lane, Rossington stole the cash during 24 separate incidents after ‘using a universal key to gain access’.

Most notably, Porter, aged 40, stole £1,230 from a machine at the Thurcroft Miners’ Welfare Club in Thurcroft, Rotherham.

Mr Gould told the court that the Thurcroft Miners’ Welfare Club ‘effectively operates on a cooperative basis and any profits made go back to the community’.

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Judge Roger Thomas QC told Porter: “You may think that commercial premises like them [gyms and leisure centres] can stand some loss, but that wasn’t the case for the Miners’ Welfare Club.”

Branches of Pure Gym and the Rushcliffe Arena leisure centre in Nottingham were among the other businesses targeted by Porter.

The court heard how Porter was on court bail and was the subject of two community orders for most of his offending period, one of which was imposed after he admitted stealing lottery tickets from a Doncaster business.

After first appearing at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in relation to the spate of thefts on December 27 last year, he subsequently failed to surrender to bail as required on February 27 this year.

Porter pleaded guilty to 24 counts of theft and one count of failing to surrender at an earlier hearing.

Angela Wrottersley, defending, told the court: “He has a long history of addiction to drugs, and that’s the sole purpose of his offending. He tried to rid himself of drugs while living in Doncaster but that led to him being attacked by drug dealers.”

“He is a man who seeks to move forward with his life. He has accommodation available to him on his release from prison,” she added.

Judge Thomas sentenced Porter to 32 months in prison.

He told him: “With this key you were stealing from [vending] machines. While the exact value cannot be calculated, the amount stolen is thought to be around £5,000.”