A TOP clergyman has forgiven a callous drug addict for the second time after he first broke into his vicarage then conned him out of nearly £1,000.
This week, the Reverend Kevin Logan, vicar of Christ Church, Accrington, said he would still offer help to offender Edward Collins despite what had gone on in the past.
Collins, 33, of Norfolk Grove, Church, was jailed for 13 months at Preston Crown Court for six offences of obtaining property by deception.
The defendant, who has 170 offences on his record was also found guilty of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception.
The court heard he had already been forgiven by Mr Logan after he burgled Christ Church Vicarage, Accrington, in December 2004 for which he was given a 12-month drug treatment and testing order.
While on remand in custody, he wrote asking forgiveness and the clergyman told him to get in touch when he was released.
Collins then went to see Mr Logan telling him he was struggling to feed his family and needed cash. The clergyman gave him £20.
Over the next few weeks he was loaned a total of around £70, until Mr Logan said he could not give him any more.
Preston Crown Court heard that Mr Logan then received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a social worker, who said Collins had got a job but needed a loan to buy a car to commute to Preston.
Mr Logan bought him a £300 car and gave him money for petrol, but became suspicious when told he could not meet Collins' social worker.
He was later contacted on Collins' behalf by a man who called himself Patel - but when he dialled 1471 it showed the defendant's home number.
In March last year Collins was arrested.
He admitted receiving money, but said he had intended to repay it.
Miss Julie Taylor, defending, said Collins had been a prolific offender for many years in the past. As time went by, his crimes escalated with his drug addiction.
Speaking after the case, Mr Logan said: "I think it is very sad that it had to come to this as I tried to help Eddie and he took advantage by conning me.
"It is stupid because he had the opportunity to get settled but he threw it away.
"But I would still help him again because we are all sinners and we all need forgiveness.
"Next time, though I would want him to prove that his intentions were honourable.
"When people come asking for food, they can have it for free.
"But if they want money, they normally have to work for it. On this occasion I have broken a cardinal rule of mine."