Homeless thief who stole dummies from babies in Essex 'used them to soothe himself'

A stock shot of a baby's dummy.
Credit: PA
Josh Guilder's lawyer said the 23-year-old had never been weaned off dummies. Stock image. Credit: PA

A homeless man who stole dummies from babies did so as he needed to soothe himself in his tent, his lawyer told a court.

Josh Guilder admitted stealing dummies from babies in five thefts spanning almost six months when he appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to five counts of theft around Harlow in Essex between 10 February and 7 August this year.

Describing one of the thefts, prosecutor Jessica Pratt Vivian said Guilder reached into a young girl’s buggy, “took her dummy from her mouth, put it in his pocket and left”.

Mary Buxton, defending, said Guilder was currently living in a tent and “has never been weaned from dummies”.

“He uses a dummy to soothe himself,” she said.

“He said he would take the dummy then go and sit in the tent and use the dummy,” she said, describing the thefts as “purely acquisitive”.

Guilder also admitted causing harassment, alarm or distress to a police officer on 14 August, the day he was arrested.

The prosecutor said he told the officer: “If my stuff gets broken, I swear I will kill you.”

He denied three charges of assault, relating to three of the five children who he took dummies from.

Guilder was remanded in custody and is due to stand trial for the assault matters at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on 10 October.

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