AN UNDERWEAR thief caught with stolen lingerie in his pockets told police he had stolen it to pleasure himself with, a court has heard.

Macauley Ray Paul Stephens admitted the offence when he appeared before magistrates in Hereford.

Stephens had been living in the same block of flats as his victim when the offence occurred, prosecutor Ralph Robyns Landricombe said.

The victim had put her clothes and items of underwear in to wash in the communal laundry facility at around 3.15pm on December 4, but when she returned, she found she was unable to open the laundry door with her key.

A few minutes later, the door opened, and the victim saw Stephens, who told her he had been trying to fix the door, standing in the room.

But as she removed her washing from the machine, she realised some of her underwear was missing.

She approached Stephens, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a number of pairs of her knickers.

Police were called and in interview, Stephens, who received a four-month prison sentence suspended for two years for voyeurism in 2019, said he had stolen the items for his own sexual gratification.


Philip Cornell, for Stephens, said the 25-year-old had fully admitted stealing the items and had apologised to the victim and landlord.

"It is obviously extremely serious, but there was no violence or suggestion of any violence," Mr Cornell said.

"If you speak to him I think the word to describe him is totally inoffensive.

The court heard Stephens had been ordered to attend a treatment and rehabilitation programme when previously sentenced, but that this had been significantly delayed by coronavirus.

Stephens, of New Street, Leominster, was handed a 12-month community order and fined £25. He must also pay costs of £185 and a £95 victim surcharge.