Brazen thieves stole £16,000 worth of cable and equipment from electricity sub-station at Hartlepool factory

Three men stole cable and electrical equipment valued at £16,000 from a factory.

By Rob Freeth
Friday, 02 August, 2019, 06:00
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Kenneth Watt and two men who have not been caught took the items over three days from an electricity sub-station at Coveris High Performance Packaging in Skerne Road, Hartlepool, a court heard.

Watt was arrested after a police officer viewed CCTV and recognised him, Teesside Crown Court was told.

“The items were removed over three days,” said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.

“CCTV footage shows the installation being broken into with a hammer by one of the unknown males.

“Watt is seen removing some items in a wheelie bin.

“He is also seen carrying cable before getting on to the back of a motorbike.”

Ms Haigh told the court the factory manager had made a business impact statement.

“He says the thefts cost the company time as it put the works back by some weeks,” said Ms Haigh.

“He estimates the cost to be about £16,000, which was not covered by insurance.

“Mr Watt was recognised from the CCTV footage by a police officer..

“The other two men have not been traced.

“When formally interviewed, Watt declined to make any comment.”

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Watt, 34, of Arkley Crescent, Hartlepool, admitted burglary between April 11 and 14.

He admitted being in breach of a suspended sentence imposed last year for dangerous driving.

“The dangerous driving offence involved a police chase,” added Ms Haigh.

Paul Newcombe, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Watt has his difficulties, and he can be taken advantage of by more sophisticated criminals.

“Since this offence, he has distanced himself from his former associates.

“As he said to his probation officer, he is gutted to have become involved in offending again.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced Watt to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, 150 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity days, a curfew of three months, and ordered him to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

The judge told him: “I have read the pre-sentence report, and I accept you have your problems.

“I am also encouraged to learn you have moved away from your former associates.

“However, there is a limit to the number of times you can use your difficulties in mitigation.

“If you offend again you will go to prison.”