Thief caught stealing at building sites

A thief who stole tools from two building sites has a four-month suspended prison sentence hanging over him today.

IPSWICH: A thief who stole tools from two building sites has a four-month suspended prison sentence hanging over him today.

Richard Allum, of Whitland Close, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court after previously pleading guilty to the thefts.

The 50-year-old appeared in the dock with co-accused Hector Seaman, 26, of Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, who had also admitted the same charge.

However, Seaman will be sentenced on November 26 as he has also pleaded guilty to a separate offence of assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Ipswich while trying to bundle her into a car. His case was adjourned for psychological reports.

Ipswich Crown Court was told Allum and Seaman were arrested for theft shortly after 9.30pm on March 17 when a resident's attention was drawn to a white van in Harvey Way, Rendlesham.

Prosecutor Stephen Rose said the dead end had access to a Persimmon Homes building site where the witness saw the two men loitering.

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Police were called and officers, including a dog handler, were sent to the scene. When they arrived they saw the van along with Allum and Seaman walking towards it.

The pair tried to get away when they spotted the officers, but were caught. A pair of bolt croppers were found and the padlocks on the building site compound were also found to be forced with the damage estimated as costing �200.

Another builder in the area, NBS Homes Ltd, was also raided.

Among the haul recovered from both sites was a Makita sander, a box drill, a percussion saw, a chop saw and a radio. The value of the stolen items was �595.

Although Seaman declined to make any comment to police, he was linked to the rental of the van and both men's fingerprints were subsequently found on the items.

Judge Roderick Newton heard Allum had a number of convictions for dishonesty going back to the 1970s and 80s, the most recent was a shoplifting offence in November last year.

In addition to his suspended sentence, which is in place for a year, Allum was given a 12-month supervision order.