Drug addict raided Tall Ships yacht in Hartlepool Marina the day after he was given a chance by the courts

TARGETED: The Black Diamond
TARGETED: The Black Diamond

A DRUG addict with a shocking record stole £10,000 worth of equipment from a yacht which competed in Hartlepool’s Tall Ships Races just a day after being given a chance by the courts.

Andrew Truswell, described by a judge as a “seasoned and persistent thief” stole items belonging to the Black Diamond yacht, including a brass propeller and several life jackets when he broke into a shed.

The 30-year-old had only been released by Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court a day before the burglary on November 5 when he was given a community order, for the same offence.

Truswell yesterday pleaded with the judge at Teesside Crown Court to be freed again so he could get help for his heroin use.

But Judge Peter Bowers, who said he had thrown away numerous previous chances when he had gone on to commit more crimes, jailed him for 18 months.

The Black Diamond, berthed at Hartlepool marina, offers people the chance to experience sailing by taking part in numerous training courses at sea through the organisation Sailing North East.

But Truswell broke into a shed in Hartlepool protected by a seven-feet high fence belonging to skipper Calvyn Whitehand in the early hours of November 5 last year.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said Mr Whitehand received a call from the police just hours after putting items in the shed and locking it.

At around 2am, Truswell was seen in the area on a bike acting suspiciously.

After following him, officers recovered a brass propellor he had dumped in a garden in Thornville Road.

Miss Masters said: “The defendant’s home was subsequently searched where a blue sail, three harnesses, a number of life jackets and sailing jackets were found.

“They amounted to about £10,000 worth of items from the boat.

“The day before this offence the defendant appeared at the magistrates court for a burglary and was given a community order.”

Truswell, of Lancaster Court, Hartlepool, admitted burglary.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “It will be no surprise to hear the defendant’s difficulty is heroin.

“What he needs is help outside in the community. The defendant asks through me to be given a chance.”

Sentencing, Judge Bowers said: “I can only describe you as a seasoned and persistent thief.

“Last time you were given a chance was the day before this offence happened in the early hours of the morning.

“I know you have problems with drugs but it makes it very difficult for me at this stage to place much credence in your assertion that you will go straight when you are released.”