A THIEF found with seven stolen plant pots in his car blamed his passengers for the crime - saying he had “fallen asleep”, a court heard.

Paul Edwards, of Black Horse Street, Bolton, was convicted in his absence on July 3, of four counts of thefts in Horwich on March 14 this year.

When Edwards did not attend the trial, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Defence lawyer Kimberley Morton said his reason for not attending court was because he had suffered a head injury in an accident.

Two pots worth £30 were stolen from Fred Thompson, three worth £120 were stolen from Annie Cornwall, and one was stolen from James Isherwood and Vincent Geelan, both worth £15.

Despite the guilty verdict, Edwards, aged 37, still maintained he fell asleep in the car and was not responsible for the thefts.

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, said: “He always accepted the pots were found in his vehicle, or the vehicle he was in control of.

“He said he had fallen asleep and others in the car had taken the pots. He denied knowledge of it. He was found guilty in his absence.

“The devil is in the detail and that’s in his record — that is what compelled him into this scenario.

“His previous convictions for dishonesty form part of this man’s character since 1995 until the present time — namely 39 different matters.”

Ms Morton added: “The defendant maintains that he is innocent. He has a long standing problem with drug use and is on a methadone prescription.”

Magistrates sentenced Edwards to a 12-week curfew from 7pm to 7am, a fine of £200 and a £60 victim surcharge.