Nelson youth worker pestered ex-foster parents for money to buy cannabis

A YOUTH worker was said to have repeatedly pestered his former foster parents for cash to buy drugs, even though he was banned from their home.

Burnley Crown Court was told how Simon Lewis, 23, had been given a restraining order and an 18 week jail term, suspended for two years, in April last year, for burglary and theft at the Cockshots’ home.

He was supposed to keep away from their house in Nelson, for two years.

But the defendant, a volunteer youth worker said to use skunk cannabis, kept turning up at the property, asking for money and scaring the grandchildren of the couple he was said to call ‘mum and dad’.

The hearing was told Lewis, whose victims still wanted the best for him, was facing jail.

He was spared, but warned if he struck again, prison awaited.

The defendant, of Camden Street, Nelson, had admitted breaching a restraining order and being in breach of the suspended term and had been committed for sentence by Pennine magistrates.

He was given 34 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months, with 18 months' supervision and 100 hours unpaid work. Lewis also received an 18 month restraining order, to keep him away from his foster parents.

David Macro, prosecuting, said the Cockshots had fostered Lewis between the ages of two and 18, but then asked the social services to find him alternative accommodation because of his behaviour.

In the three months leading up to October 24, he had been going to their house and on that day he turned up, asking for £2. Mrs Cockshot told him to leave, he was abusive and her grandchildren were upset.

He left, but returned later and asked for £40, which he said was the deposit for a house. The defendant was told his mother was ringing the police and left.

Mr Macro said the defendant’s foster mother felt he needed help, said her family couldn’t relax in their own home and they believed he wanted money for drugs.

He was arrested the following morning at the home of his natural father when he refused to leave and appeared in court for beaching the peace.

Richard Taylor, for Lewis, said he had severe limitations and significant deficits in his thinking and behaviour Mr Taylor said: “The probation service feels there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done with him.”

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