A BURGLAR was caught red-handed by police as he tried to steal copper piping from a house being converted into flats.
A member of the public alerted police to something suspicious going on at the property in Wellington Road, Bridlington, and when they arrived found John Paul Duffin, 21, with a load of copper piping rolled up ready to be removed.
At Bridlington Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday, Duffin of Queensgate Square, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary and was given a community order to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay compensation of £500.
Magistrate David Smith told him: “Having looked at your previous record, you are creeping closer to the point where you are going to end up in custody. Magistrates benches are going to run out of patience with you.”
David Cammies, prosecuting, had told the court the Wellington Road property was owned by a developer who was turning it into flats.
Police had received a call from a member of the public late on May 26 who reported suspicious activity at the house.
When they arrived they found a 4ft by 4ft window pane had been removed. Duffin was inside and was arrested.
A second person, Darren John Robinson, had escaped but was later arrested.
“He is currently wanted as he did not answer police bail,” said Mr Cammies.
He described how a quantity of copper piping had been removed from sinks and taken from the wall leaving water pouring out on to the floor.
Floor boards had been pulled up and electrical cable removed.
“The owner of the property estimates repairs will cost around £4,000,” said Mr Cammies.
When Duffin was arrested and interviewed he made no comment. He said Duffin was last in court in March last year when he received a community order for burglary.
Mitigating, Nick Farr told magistrates that Duffin had successfully completed that order.
He said Duffin had only been in the property between five and 10 minutes and had taken copper pipe from the hallway.
He had tried to get out through a window but had been detained.
“The building was in a very poor state of repair and well known it had been entered on a number of occasions and items taken for scrap,” said Mr Farr.
He described Duffin as a self-employed fisherman who works from Bridlington harbour, going out on day trips with holidaymakers, earning around £10,000 a year.
“The work is very much seasonal and he has been having financial difficulties.
“He disputes he is responsible for all of the damage to the property,” said Mr Farr, who said Duffin had estimated the scrap value of the copper pipe to be around £40.
Passing sentence, magistrates made no order for court costs .