Dad hunts tip for kids xmas gifts

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 May 2010

A MAN who was caught stealing from a waste site in Weston says he was looking for his children's Christmas presents.

A MAN who was caught stealing from a waste site in Weston says he was looking for his children's Christmas presents.

Michael Rutter, of Laburnum Road, appeared before magistrates at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges on January 7, and pleaded guilty to charges of being found in or upon enclosed premises.

The unemployed father-of-five was caught by police at 5.20am on December 10 after they spotted two bicycles outside the Viridor waste management site in Aisecome Way.

The court heard how the police spotted a man and Rutter filling a bag with items from the site.

Judith Mills, defending, said: "He went there to look for Christmas presents or to look for items to sell to purchase Christmas presents.

"He said there was a hole in the fence, so no damage was done to gain entry."

Ms Mills went on to say that the 41-year-old had a mix up with his benefits and that he was finding it hard to manage on a crisis loan of about £20 a week.

She said that Rutter, whose children live with family members, was struggling to live off the money he had and that he 'wanted to do something for his children'.

North Somerset Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) case worker, Sara Leeroth, said she would advise anyone who is struggling with their finances to contact the CAB office at The Badger Centre in Wadham Street, Weston.

She said: "I have not heard of anyone going through bins to search for presents before, only food.

"The financial pressure on parents around Christmas is serious and this year is the worst for it.

"People need to prioritise bills and debt payments and not make Christmas presents a top priority.

"Unfortunately, there is a shame element associated with not being able to give children the gifts they want, but they need to understand that Christmas is not about presents and try and shift the focus to other aspects."

Rutter was released on condition bail and will be sentenced back at the St Georges courthouse on January 21.

Magistrate Joy Yates said: "Mr Rutter, you will be looking at a medium to high level community order, not the maximum of three months imprisonment.

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