Burglar given unpaid work after tool thefts

Banbury Magistrates Court House ENGNNL00120130307133744
Banbury Magistrates Court House ENGNNL00120130307133744

A 35-year-old man who stole power tools and other items from properties in the Broughton area has avoided a jail sentence.

Adam Lee, of Centre Avenue, Woodford Halse, admitted three counts of burglary at Banbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday following the incidents in September last year.

Jennifer Riddell, prosecuting, told the court that on September 22 a shed was forced open at Haywood Masonry on Banbury Road between North Newington and Broughton and a number of items were taken, including several power tools.

The list of items included a yellow extension lead, camping stove, a Nordic mountain bike and a pair of Oakley sunglasses. It was also heard a sample of Lee’s blood was found at the scene.

On September 23 at Spring Farm Barn on Main Road, Broughton, more items were taken from a property but were later recovered by police. Power tools to the value of £340 were taken from Spring Farm Bungalow on Main Road on September 2.

When police again arrived at the scene they searched the area and found a vehicle in Salt Way which they thought looked suspicious.

The female passenger inside the vehicle said she was waiting for her partner to move his tent. Lee then arrived and he led officers to his tent which had the missing power tools inside.

Most of the items stolen in the three incidents have since been recovered.

The court then heard that when arrested Lee made full admissions of the incident, and said he went to the Haywood Masonry after seeing a large number of items in the building.

It was heard he had the intention of selling the items in the hope of starting a new life in France.

In a police statement read out in court, PC Andrew Gold of Banbury Police Station added Lee was in a bad place in his life at the time of the offences, and had ended a relationship which meant he was sleeping in a tent and dependent on drugs.

Chris Edwards, defending, told the court Lee had been working in a management role at a local firm for a number of years when it became apparent he was struggling with drugs.

Despite this, the business aimed to help Lee through his battle with drugs but when he failed a routine test, he was dismissed from his job in January 2014.

Unable to pay for his accommodation, he lived in a tent next to Giant’s Cave and was forced to hunt animals in order to eat.-

Mr Edwards said: “He distanced himself from those who loved him and slept at Giant’s Cave to keep himself away from drug associates, although he brought company back to where he was staying and they were bringing controlled substances.

“These burglaries occurred at addresses just off Salt Way where my client would simply go into garden sheds looking for something he would take and sell for money to buy food.

“He was very much down on his luck and looking to sell items for food.”

It was heard Lee had now moved on with his life and as well as living at a permanent address for two months, he was now working five days a week cleaning industrial chimneys across the country.

Mr Edwards added: “He is back at work and the drug matters is something he hopes is behind him.”.

Lee was given a 12-month community order to carry out unpaid work for 200 hours, ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge. He also had seven other offences taken in to consideration.