A HEROIN addict who had 10 previous convictions for burglary raided the Carlisle pharmacy where he was a regular customer and stole medication worth almost £800.

At the city’s crown court, a judge jailed 44-year-old Steven Jordan ­— despite his barrister saying the better course would be to impose two years of rehabilitation to address his addiction.

The defendant admitted burglary, claiming he was told to commit the crime by dealers he owed money to.

The court heard that Jordan had carried out the raid over two days in March, on the first day using a power tool to cut through metal bars so that he could gain access to the Well Pharmacy in Fusehill Street, Carlisle, where he usually picked up his methadone prescription.

Once inside, he searched the shop’s shelves for Pregabalin tablets, stealing more than 1,500 of them which were valued at £778.

He also took two other types of medication. The defendant, of Borland Avenue, Botcherby, was arrested after he was caught on CCTV and subsequently recognised, the court heard.

Judith McCullough, defending, said it was hard to reconcile the "intelligent man" who Jordan is with the offender in the dock, with 48 previous convictions, many of them for dishonesty.

A qualified HGV driver, with NVQ certificates, he had been released from his previous jail term during the pandemic and was unable to access the help normally available, said the barrister.

“He ran up a drugs debt of £800,” said Miss McCullough.

The people he owed money to had told him to get the drugs he stole. Miss McCullough added: “His remorse is genuine. There’s no doubt that he understands the effect of his actions on others...

“He’s worked throughout his time in custody and has a supportive family.”

In a previous hearing, Miss McCullough told the court that the defendant now wanted to set himself “on proper path back towards a responsible life.”

Referring to a background report which suggested a two-year rehabilitation order, the barrister said: “The alternative set out in the pre-sentence report may in the long term benefit those in wider society more than the imposition of further terms of imprisonment.

“There is a possibility of breaking the cycle of drug use and offending followed by almost inevitable terms of imprisonment.”

There was a need to “grasp the nettle” and deal with his long-standing drug addiction once and for all, said the barrister.

She added: “There’s a glimmer of hope with regards to this defendant on the horizon.”

Passing sentence, Recorder Richard Archer said: “This was essentially a theft to order.”

The judge said he accepted the defendant carried out the crime because of his involvement in the drugs world. But he said the burglary was clearly planned and the drug stolen deliberately targeted because of the demand for it on the black market.

“Clearly you went equipped for burglary - by using a power tool.” CCTV images showed Jordan searching the pharmacy’s shelves as he looked for the Pregabalin tablets he was asked to steal.

The judge described the defendant’s previous convictions as “horrendous.”

Recorder Archer continued: “You have struggled for years with drug addiction and you have - to a greater or lesser extent - managed to get yourself drug free for a period of time.”

Though recognising Jordan's “determination” to rid himself of drug addiction, and that he was supported by his family, the judge said the seriousness of the offence and the defendant’s previous convictions meant there had to be immediate custody.

He jailed Jordan for 13 months.

Those involved in such serious offending, said the judge, had to receive appropriate punishment, said Recorder Archer.

He expressed a hope that the support Jordan needed to beat his addiction would be in place when he is released from prison.