Defence lawyer on Peacehaven shop thief: ‘he’s not very good’ at crime

Cypher Electronics in South Coast Road, Peacehaven. Picture: Google Maps
Cypher Electronics in South Coast Road, Peacehaven. Picture: Google Maps

A defence lawyer for a thief who stole electronic goods from a Peacehaven shop admitted her client ‘wasn’t very good’ at commiting crimes.

At Hove Crown Court on Thursday, Eli Cooper, 31, from South Coast Road, Peacehaven, was sentenced for a string of crimes across East and West Sussex.

Among them was a burglary at Cypher Electronics, a shop in South Coast Road, Peacehaven, on November 22 last year.

Prosecutor Giles Morrison said Cooper stole a number of electrical items, the majority of which were recovered.

Representing Eli, Alexandra Scott said of her client’s criminal credentials: “He isn’t very good at it, to put it that bluntly. He is slightly put off of the criminal lifestyle because he knows he isn’t very good at it.”

According to Mr Morrison, at 2.30am police were called by a neighbour of the store to report there had been a break-in. The owner confirmed that the glass door had been smashed, along with glass cabinets containing products.

A large number of items were stolen, including Xbox and Playstation 3 and 4 consoles, a red Nintendo DS and various mobile phones and DVDs.

CCTV footage showed Eli, wearing a green hooded jacket, stealing the items and fleeing before police arrived.

At 3.30am, police spotted him cycling in the centre of the road wearing a black rucksack and a big box balancing on his handlebars.

Eli dumped the bike and box, which contained the Xbox, and ran – but police arrested him shortly afterwards. Inside his bag were the mobile phones and the Nintendo DS.

Police found other consoles at Eli’s house, as well as iPads and other tablets.

Eli refused to be interviewed by police. His solicitor advised police to proceed without an interview because of his client’s ‘violent’ nature, adding that ‘even when calm he could become aggressive in seconds’.

The court heard that Eli had 63 previous offences on his criminal record, mainly theft-related crimes.

Ms Scott said that Eli, who has been in custody since his latest arrest, has been taking Spice, a ‘very destructive drug’, in prison. She said he ‘wasn’t getting the help he needed’ on the inside but was cooperating with Pavilions drug and alcohol service in Brighton, which was willing to offer him a detox programme.

For all of his crimes, Judge David Rennie sentenced him to a two-year community order, with a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and a 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement. He has to go on a thinking skills programme, and was disqualified from driving for 18 months.