British biomedical student Jamie Lane, 24, admitted to stealing over $8,300 (£6,500) of models to support a Warhammer addiction, according to a report in the UK’s News & Star regional newspaper. Lane admitted to nine thefts, acting with an as-yet unnamed apprentice, that took place in 2023.
According to the News & Star, prosecutor George Shelley said at the Carlisle Magistrates Court in North-West England that both defendants were spotted on CCTV at the town Warhammer shop putting kits into bags and leaving without making any visible effort to pay.
$8,300 (£6,523) of Warhammer figures were stolen, including just over $1,270 (£1,000) worth in one go on September 4. Lane had a serious pile of shame going, too; Prosecutor Shelley reportedly said that items worth $4,289 (£3,368) were found during a search of Lane’s home.
Per the News & Star’s report, a probation officer explained how Lane first met the unnamed co-defendant at the Warhammer store. The two became friends, to the extent of visiting one another’s houses. Lane wanted to develop his Warhammer collection, but didn’t have the cash – he needed the funds to eat, the officer said in court.
Lane’s habit apparently started by stealing paints for miniatures, but this escalated. Lane got caught in a pattern of increasing addiction to Warhammer and greater stealing, the probation officer explained – adding that he knew it was a problem but didn’t know how to stop.
Lane appears to have been in a bad state, financially and emotionally, when he committed the thefts. Lawyer Jeff Smith, acting as defense, reportedly stated that Lane hadn’t been able to get a student loan due to a bust-up with his parents, and that he was flat broke.
The probation officer confirmed Lane had been bullied at school and had suffered depression since he was 10, to the extent that by age 15 he suffered from PTSD following bullying and assaults. The officer added that Lane had been referred to a mental health crisis team.
The News & Star reports that the court passed a 16 weeks custody sentence, which is suspended for a year. That includes ten days of rehabilitation activities. Lane must also compensate the store £1,286, at a rate of £5 per week. Lane is said to have received the sentence thankfully.
The UK charity Mind has advice on mental illness and financial difficulties.