Burglar caught when vigilant neighbour called police

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.

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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.