Poppy seed thief sentenced
An opiate addict has ended up with another criminal conviction after stealing poppy seeds from a supermarket to feed his craving for drugs.
Liam Joseph Cosgrove, 29, pleaded guilty in the Palmerston North District Court today to a charge of shoplifting after he stole the seeds from a bulk bin at New World Pioneer.
On Wednesday last week, the Palmerston North man - who has multiple previous convictions - went into the store and filled a bag with the seeds, before trying to leave the store without paying.
He was quickly caught by security, who found he had tried to steal seeds valued at $26.77.
He told police he had stolen the seeds because he was an opiate addict.
Poppy seeds have long been stolen or bought by people wanting a high, as the seeds can contain opiates.
People have been caught in workplace random drug tests for using opiates, only to argue the opiates came because they had eaten poppy-laden products such as poppy-seed bagels.
Users turn the poppy seeds into a tea to try get the same high as they would if they used conventional opiates.
Duty lawyer Mark Alderdice said Cosgrove had told his doctor about his issues, and he was trying to get help for his addictions.
Judge Gregory Ross said he wanted to know what Cosgrove was doing to improve his situation beyond getting help for his addiction.
"Is his life on hold until he gets the national superannuation?"
Alderdice said Cosgrove needed to address his opiate addiction before tackling getting a job.
Judge Ross told Cosgrove he needed to break his addiction.
"It seems to me you are otherwise a waste of what would have been a good life.
"You have more work to offer than making work for police officers.
"If any school kids saw someone like this, wasting their life away, they would stay away from drugs."
Judge Ross sentenced Cosgrove to nine months' supervision.