Notorious Southsea thief and drug addict with 'shocking record' avoids jail after being caught with knives three times by same police officer

A NOTORIOUS thief and drug addict with a ‘shocking’ criminal record avoided jail after being caught with a knife in public three times by the same police officer.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:57 pm

Southsea career criminal Neil Braithwaite, 54, who has 51 convictions for 94 offences to his name, was back in familiar territory at Portsmouth Crown Court for his latest spree of offences.

Braithwaite, of Bramble Road, was caught with a blade after stealing nearly £9 worth of items from the Co-op store on Eastney Road, Southsea, on February 10.

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Portsmouth Crown Court Picture: César Moreno Huerta

Prosecutor Rosheen Iyer said the defendant claimed he merely had work ‘tools’ on him when confronted before a kitchen knife was found and he was arrested after police were called.

Three months later on May 1 the same officer who had previously arrested Braithwaite came across him again in Washington Road, North End.

After being asked if he had anything on him, Braithwaite admitted he had a fixed blade knife and said: ‘It was for a chain on the bike.’

Then on August 11 in Fawcett Road, Southsea, he was again found to be in possession of a knife by the same officer.

‘The officer noticed the defendant on the street and asked if he had anything on him with the defendant saying he had a knife. A lock knife was found on him,’ Ms Iyer said.

‘The defendant was arrested and accepted possession of the knife. He said it was given to him by another person.’

Gaylene Coles, defending, said of Braithwaite’s struggles with drugs: ‘For much of his adult life he has tried to overcome his addiction to heroin and cocaine.’

She said stable accommodation ‘will allow him to overcome his addiction’, before adding: ‘Now at 54 he is at a crossroads in his life. It is now or never. He’s at a time where he wants to embrace all the help he can.’

The court heard Braithwaite had also spent just over three months in custody while on remand.

Judge, recorder John Freeman, said to Braithwaite: ‘You have a shocking record, much of it to do with your addiction to cocaine.’

But he decided the defendant and society were best served by imposing a community order - with him saying jail would be ‘unjust’.

Braithwaite, who was sentenced for three counts of possessing a blade and for theft from a shop, was handed a three-year community order with a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

He was also told to complete 20 rehabilitation days and to pay costs of £400 and a £95 victim surcharge.

Recorder Freeman added: ‘It really is your last chance.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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