Stealing from a church to repay a debt led to a three-month prison sentence for a Milford Haven man.

Sam Maguire, formerly of Hawthorn Path, Milford Haven, now of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates via video-link from Swansea prison on Tuesday, July 9.

Abul Hussain, prosecuting, said Maguire, 33, was captured on CCTV footage taking a metal stand and a cash box, worth £575, from St Katherine’s Church, Milford Haven, on March 24.

“The defendant said he could not remember the incident, but was 99% sure that the person on the footage was him.”

The court heard that Maguire had previously been convicted of a similar offence.

Mark Layton, defending, said Maguire stole the metal stand because it was attached to the cash box.

“He owed somebody money and was under pressure to repay that very quickly.

“He realises that theft from a church is not an appropriate act.”

Mr Layton added that Maguire’s long-term partner had now relocated away from Milford Haven, and he was unlikely to return to the area or church again.

Magistrates imposed a 12-week prison sentence and ordered Maguire to pay £690 in compensation and a surcharge.

The chairman of the bench said the sentence reflected a 'breach of public trust' due to the venue of the theft.