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Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to answer this for you.
If he is arrested on re-entry he would appear in the local magistrates which I think is at Uxbridge for Heathrow arrests.
In terms of how it is delat with of he is going to admit the offence eh will be sentenced at the first hearing unless there are reasons fro a report (you refer to mental health problem so a report may be needed). If there is an adjournment or he pelads ngt guilty and a trial is needed then the case will probably be referred back to Reading.
Typical report adjournments are 3 weeks. Typical time to trial from guilty plea is about 2 months.
At the 1st appearance and in police station he would be entitled to free representation from the duty solicitor.
In terms of senencing the guidelien used byt ee court is here
If you look at the section from page 9 onwards you will see that in the vast majority of cases the sentence is a fine or community order. If it is a low level theft and he has spent time in police custody after an airport arrest then it is possible that the court may consider this sufficient punishment itself.