HAPLESS raiders returned to a building site to remove a piece of copper they suspected to have their fingerprints on – but were caught in the act.
One of the raiders, Robert Scully, was then caught with £1,500 of cannabis in his car, a court heard.
Scully and Craig Lowes had initially not seen anything worth stealing at the unfinished house, in Orchid Road on Hartlepool’s Bishop Cuthbert estate, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.
But they returned to the scene to take the copper cable which they thought would have their fingerprints on – and were arrested.
Describing the early-morning offences, prosecutor Alan Davison said Scully and Lowes were stopped in a Ford Escort by police after fitting descriptions given to officers.
He said following a search, six bags of cannabis, worth £1,500 were found in a toolbox.
“He fully admitted he intended to sell the cannabis to sell to make a profit to his friends to make a profit to ease his financial woes,” said Mr Davison.
Scully, of King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, admitted burglary and possessing cannabis with intent to supply on May 20.
John Relton, mitigating, said: “My client went past a building site to see if there was anything of value to steal.
“He looked around and there was nothing of value to steal.
“They went back to see if they had left any fingerprints.
“He should have been arrested for attempted burglary, but as he admitted taking a short piece of copper cable he had touched he was charged with the full offence.”
Mr Relton said the offence was “totally out of character”.
He added that Scully had paid £800 for the cannabis and his friends were “paying a high price for it and he bought it cheap for them”.
Mr Relton added Scully, a company foreman, was “well-respected” and his employers had provided a reference.
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Geoff Morley sentenced Scully to a 12-month community order with £150 hours unpaid work and £85 costs to pay.
Co-accused Craig Lowes, 27, of Raby Street, Hartlepool, was fined £170 with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge after admitting his part in the burglary at an earlier hearing.