Burglar caught when vigilant neighbour called police

PUBLISHED: 09:57 25 February 2011

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A VIGILANT neighbour alerted police after hearing thieves stealing copper piping from the premises of an Ely plumber.

Officers arrived at Eric Chivers’ property to see three men jump over a gate and run off - and burglar Moses Smith was caught and detained.

Appearing before city magistrates, the 23-year-old admitted entering a shed at the rear of a compound on February 12, and stealing copper piping.

Prosecuting. Laura Mardell told how a neighbour called police after hearing voices, metal rattling, and a drum being rolled up the path.

Miss Mardell continued: “She knew her neighbour was away, he is a plumber and has copper piping in the garden.”

Mr Chivers reported the loss of a bag containing £200 worth of copper piping, and £250 worth of damage to a gate and fence.

After arrest, Smith told police he had been walking past the premises when he saw copper and lead in the garden; he was with two other people he refused to name. They intended to steal the items, with the intention of selling them on.

Solicitor Jacqui Baldwin said Smith had viewed the CCTV footage of the incident, recorded in the police car.

She said: “He had been drinking, and was encouraged by others. He says nothing was taken; I have seen the video, he came over the gate empty handed.”

Smith, of Inverness Road, Ipswich, was ordered to perform 50 hours of unpaid work, and pay £100 compensation and £60 costs.

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