Raider stole neighbour’s big screen TV before booking a taxi to make escape

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

An opportunistic raider who stole a big screen TV from a new neighbour’s home before booking a mini-cab to make his escape has been handed a one-way trip to jail.

David Preston smashed his way into Martin Strickland’s home in Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, and snatched the 55-inch Samsung set - after spotting an empty TV box in his yard.

He acknowledges a custodial sentence is inevitable.

Andrew Teate

The brazen offender then knocked on partner in crime Christopher Hull’s door and asked him to ring for a cab, so he could transport his ill-gotten gains to mkae a quick profit at Cash Converters in the town.

Preston, 33, who already had an account with the pawnbroking firm, then sold on the stolen goods for just £130.

Hull, also 33, put his liberty at risk for just a £10 slice of Preston’s profits - as well as getting his £10 back for the mini-bus fare.

The pair’s crimes were uncovered by police and both were hauled before Teesside Crown Court.

Preston, of Gloucester Street, Hartlepool, admitted burglary and fraud, over the sale of the television, with Hull, of Marlborough Street in the town, pleading guilty to handling stolen goods.

The offence was carried out on June 24.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said: “Martin Strickland had been in the property for just five days and had purchased the Samsung TV for £569.

“He had left the property secured at 2pm and returned at 3.30pm to find the TV had been stolen as well as it’s box, which was in the rear yard.

“The glass panel of the rear door had been smashed.

“Hull shares the same alleyway as the victim and Preston lives across the road from him.

“It transpired that Hull had booked a mini-cab to transport the TV.

“Preston took the TV to Cash Converters, where he had an account, and got £130 for it.”

The court heard that Preston has 104 previous offences, including an offence of burglary in 2006, while Hull has a total of 92 previous offences.

Andrew Teate, defending Preston, said: “The mini-bus was not booked until after the TV was taken, so there was no planning in that regard.

“He has taken it into Cash Converters and after filling a form saying he was the owner there was no further questons asked, which is remarkable in this day and age.

“He acknowledges a custodial sentence is inevitable.”

Martin Scarborough, defending Hull, said: “He got £10 out of the £130 and his £10 taxi fare back.

“It was fairly low remuneration.

“He should’ve resisted and sent him away.”

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Preston for 12 months but spared Hull immediate custody, instead handing him a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.