The men behind a “wretched offence” after a church-based foodbank was broken into and burgled have been brought to face justice.

The Trinity Foodbank, based at Trinity Baptist Church on Westminster Avenue, Radcliffe was targeted in late 2020.

Nearly three years on, 41-year-old John Alder was brought before Bolton Crown Court after around £150 worth of the stolen food was found when police searched his home.

Prosecutor Alex Beevers said: “It was set up with a view to supporting the homeless, vulnerable and needy in the Radcliffe area.”

Mr Beevers told the court how the food had been kept in a locked garage, which was broken into at around 10pm on December 2, 2020.

The Bolton News: The broken door at the foodbankThe broken door at the foodbank (Image: Newsquest)

The garage doors were forced open and CCTV cameras were ripped from the walls before a trolley with four crates of food was stolen.

Mr Beevers said that the damage to the garage shutters costs £450, the damage to the CCTV costs £160 and the stolen food was worth around £150.

But eyewitnesses saw the stolen trolley being taken to a house on Kirkstall Gardens in Radcliffe, home of John Alder.

On searching the house, police found the stolen food and Alder was arrested soon after alongside another man, who is set to be sentenced at a later date.

Both denied involvement in the crimes at first but Alder, who has 15 previous convictions for 29 offences, eventually pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.

A statement from the foodbank founder read out by Mr Beevers said: “I’m shocked and horrified that people would steal from the local community and had they asked we would have provided them with the food they required.”

Mr Beevers added that the crime had had a profound impact on the community in Radcliffe, given the foodbank’s status as a charity.

Robert Smith, defending, argued that Alder deserved credit for having eventually pleaded guilty and told the court that he had a “clear alcohol dependency problem.”

He said: “Really, the underlying problem with this defendant is his alcohol problem, which he admits he does have.

Mr Smith said that Alder lived on Universal Credit and said his “chaotic lifestyle” had led him to crime.

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Recorder Peter Atherton accepted these points but said the crime was “a wretched offence really, looked at as a whole.”

Addressing Alder, he said: “Clearly this had serious consequences for the community, particularly those members of the community who were reliant on the foodbank.”

He added: “You have a pretty bad record, which is an aggravating factor in this case, and the community impact is another aggravating factor.”

Recorder Atherton sentenced Alder to a 12 month community order, with a nine month alcohol treatment requirement and ordered him to complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.