A SERIAL charity box thief, who flouted court orders and committed more crimes, has been locked up for 18 months.

Calvin Banks, 27, had been subject to a suspended jail term for assault when he helped himself to four charity boxes.

Last December he was spared prison again, after the stealing spree, and was given a community order. The defendant then failed to turn up for probation and officers now felt the order would not work as he didn’t comply, Burnley Crown Court was told.

Jobless Banks, of Rhoda Street, Nelson, admitted two counts of criminal damage on December 31 and January 3 and breaching the orders. He had been committed by magistrates for damage offences, committed at the property of a man said to have been in a violent relationship with his mother. The hearing was told in December 2012, the defendant had received 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, for assault causing actual bodily harm, He had been part of a gang that beat up a man in his own home.

In December last year, he was given a ‘last chance’ 12-month community order, with 12 months supervision, 120 hours unpaid work and a 28-day curfew. Banks had admitted three counts of theft and one of damage.

That hearing heard he had taken charity boxes for North West Air Ambulance, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Salvation Army.

Banks took a charity box from Nelson Post Office last October 25, put it under his jacket and left. He was caught on CCTV counting out the coins, which totalled £12.50, and was identified by a police officer. The defendant also took two charity boxes from a dry cleaning shop and one from a newsagent's. After sentence, Banks did just nine hours of the unpaid work.

Sentencing, Recorder Nigel Grundy told Banks he may have had legitimate concerns about the victim of the damage offences, but that did not excuse them.