A HEROIN addict pawned stolen jewellery to help somebody higher up in the drugs chain and secure his next fix.
Desmond Bell took the jewellery - hauled from burglaries at two Chester houses - to the cash centre on Brook Street.
Now Bell, who has 55 previous convictions and has been jailed 14 times, faces a lengthy prison sentence after admitting handling stolen goods at Chester Magistrates Court this week.
'He took the jewellery into the shop and pretended it belonged to members of his family,' said Maireed Neeson, prosecuting.
'He gave his name and even had his picture taken for identification. He received £50 in return for the jewellery.'
Mrs Neeson told the court that Bell, 38, who has no fixed address, was handed the jewellery on January 27 after two burglaries that same day.
Thieves had broken into Amanda Roth-erham's house on Cherry Road, Boughton and stolen jewellery, a purse and a camera. Electrical goods worth £2,600, along with a diamond and an emerald ring, were stolen from a property on Prescott Street in Hoole.
After the burglaries were reported, police visited the cash centre in Brook Street and recovered the jewellery.
Two days later, they visited a house on Tarvin Road, Boughton, and arrested Bell, who was found sleeping on the floor.
The camera stolen from Miss Roth-erham's house was found in the pocket of a cream jacket found hanging up in the house.
During interviews, Bell admitted visiting the pawn shop but denied knowing anything about the burglaries.
Brian Treadwell, defending, said: 'He turned a blind eye. He had an idea where they would have come from, but he didn't ask any questions.
'He was not involved in the burglaries. He didn't have anything to do with events before he was handed the jewellery.'
Mr Treadwell added: 'He was simply a rather desperate individual. He did not have a home of his own and was prepared to do anything to secure his fix.
'He was preyed upon by somebody higher up in the drugs chain who was more than aware of the risks and was quite happy to transfer that risk to my client.
'Bell is realistic about his future and knows that he faces a custodial sentence.'
District judge Philip Dodd said: 'By Bell's own admission he assisted somebody who committed two serious burg-laries.
'He gave him that help within six hours of the crimes taking place and he realised it would make life easier for his friend.
'When you put this offence next to Bell's record, which includes 55 previous convictions and 14 prison sentences, it's obvious that he is not deterred by short custodial sentences.'
Mr Dodd said that he did not believe that the magistrates courts' maximum sentencing powers of six months were sufficient and the case was forwarded to Chester Crown Court where Bell will be sentenced later this month.