Samaritan pub boss speaks of ‘betrayal’ by homeless heroin addict he saved from streets

BETRAYED... Jess McConnell paid a heavy price for offering a helping hand to Kelvin Jeffrey, who went on to steal from McConnell's Ale House.
BETRAYED... Jess McConnell paid a heavy price for offering a helping hand to Kelvin Jeffrey, who went on to steal from McConnell's Ale House.

A good Samaritan brewery boss has spoken of how he feels “betrayed” after his pub was raided twice by a homeless heroin addict he saved from a life on the streets.

Caring Jess McConnell, who runs Jarrow Brewery, and his wife Alison set up Kelvin Dale Jeffrey with a home of his own and gave him money for food after spotting him begging at a Metro station.

Jess and Alison McConnell.

Jess and Alison McConnell.

But Dale Jeffrey, 22, repaid their support by stealing £500 worth of gin during two separate break-ins at McConnell’s Ale House, in Walter Street, Jarrow, in April.

Mr and Mrs McConnell had been helping Jeffrey for around six months at the time of the offences, for which he was jailed for 20 months.

The 62-year-old said: “I had seen him begging at Jarrow Metro Station and gave him a pound for a cup of coffee. When I saw him again he was in some bushes with a sleeping bag and then I knew he was genuinely sleeping rough, so my wife Alison and I, on impulse, decided to put a roof over his head.

“We set him up in a property and gave him food and kept him active, giving him jobs like tidying the garden and cleaning the car. We got him on methodone treatment as he had a heroin addiction and then got him unemployment benefits, as he now had an address.

We do feel betrayed and would think twice about doing anything like this again.

Jess McConnell

“He had money for food and drink and was doing better. We do feel betrayed and would think twice about doing anything like this again.

“He has written six letters from prison apologising profusely, he is full of remorse. He said he had cravings for heroin. I know with drug additions the person can sometimes have little control over their actions.

“I do hope he can get himself on the straight and narrow and I will visit him in prison.”

Mr McConnell says security measures have since been increased at the pub.