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Hospital burglar caught emerging from bush equipped with bolt croppers

Lee Wisby broke into Ipswich Hospital and stole two computers in November  Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Lee Wisby broke into Ipswich Hospital and stole two computers in November Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

A burglar was found with a pair of bolt croppers when arrested on suspicion of stealing more than £1,000 of computer equipment from Ipswich Hospital.

Lee Wisby told officers he found the tool in a bush along with a laptop – when arrested on a warrant following a break-in at the hospital in November.

The 30-year-old had denied going equipped for theft and burgling the hospital's human resources department.

But, after a month awaiting trial on remand at Norwich prison, Wisby admitted both offences before magistrates on Thursday.

The court heard how he left his fingerprint on a pivot window of the office he broke into after hospital staff locked up and went home on November 29.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said the office door was found still locked the following morning, but two £500 Hewlett Packard computers were missing, along with memory cards worth £30.

A warrant was out for Wisby's arrest when he emerged from a bush in front of officers patrolling an Ipswich park on March 21.

Telling them he was smoking crack in the bush with a friend gave police a reason to search him under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Wisby claimed the pair of bolt croppers in his jacket came from the bush, along with a laptop he was carrying under his arm.

Shelley Drew, mitigating, said Wisby had historical issues with class A drug misuse but had gone seven years without troubling the court until his last appearance in November 2017.

“When clean, he can lead a productive life, but when drugs get hold of him, he finds himself in this position,” she added.

“He has been on remand for some four weeks, in which time he has not used drugs, and presents entirely differently than when he first appeared before the court.”

Magistrates adjourned the case for the probation service to prepare a pre-sentence report.

Wisby was released on conditional bail to reside at his mother's address in Mildenhall Aprroach.

Security management specialist at Ipswich Hospital, Alex Scott said: “We were saddened by the incident, which involved the theft of two computers and some memory cards.

“We would like to reassure everyone that no patient information was lost and we regularly review our security procedures to prevent incidents like this happening again.”

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