A PROLIFIC charity box thief has been jailed after he targeted three causes, including the Poppy Appeal and St Michael's Hospice.

John Sebastian Wagstaff pleaded guilty to eight separate counts of theft, including four relating to snatching charity boxes, over a three week period in October and November when he appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on November 24

Wagstaff, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to a total of 56 days behind bars.

The 37-year-old pinched charity boxes belonging to the Royal British Legion on October 31, November 4 and November 10, all in Basingstoke, and targeted boxes in aid of St Michael's Hospice and Variety, the children's charity, on November 14, also in Basingstoke.

For each of these thefts, Wagstaff was sentenced to 14 days in jail, to run consecutively.

The reason the court gave for this sentence was "because of theft donated by the public for good causes [and] because the offence was aggravated by the defendant's record of previous offending".

Wagstaff also pleaded guilty to four counts of stealing relating to taking food and scratch cards from Morrisons and One Stop Stores in Basingstoke between October 27 and November 6. For these charges, he was jailed for seven days concurrently.