Hartlepool council depot raider found with knife when he was spotted by passing police officers
A night-time skip raider who had a knife when police caught him climbing out of a Hartlepool council depot has been jailed.
Serial thief Robert Green, 34, claimed that he found the four-inch lock knife in a skip, and he owned up to it to the woman officer who arrested him.
But he had a previous conviction for possessing a knife, said the judge at Teesside Crown Court who refused to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Police spotted Green with an orange sack as he climbed over the fence at the recycling depot on Burn Road, Hartlepool, at 8.25pm on July 4, said prosecutor John Harley.
Inside they found he had looted a drone, golf balls, a torch, false nails, an axe, and a mobile phone.
He had 76 convictions for 133 offences, most of them for theft and shoplifting.
Mr Harley said that Green told the officer that he had a knife in his pocket as they drove to the police station.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said that Green had done the right thing by owning up to the knife, which would have been discovered when he was searched later.
He added: “He tells me that recently he had problems with heroin, and in association with a couple of others he went to the compound, and he took items including the knife which he foolishly put into his pocket instead of the sack.
”It’s the old story, he got caught and they got away.
”He could have done nothing more than to admit that he had a knife. He was alone with a woman police officer.
”He says that he could perhaps benefit from some supervision, he would comply with any order that the court made.”
Judge James Brown told Green: “Possession of a knife in public is an extremely serious thing
”You alleged that you were committing the theft in a skip when you found the lock knife. Some months earlier you were found in possession of a lock knife and some heroin.
”The reason that legislation has been passed is to protect the public. People who carry knives can use knives, and the reason why is Parliament has decided that once people who carry knives are given a chance and they carry one again they have not learned a lesson.”
The judge added: “This is, I suspect, not an unusual set of circumstances so the right-thinking person would not think it was unjust that you should go to prison.
”Knife possession and knife crime is now at an epidemic, and people carrying knives is not acceptable.”
Green, of Nottingham Walk, Hartlepool, was jailed for 147 days and the knife was ordered to be destroyed after he pleaded guilty to theft and possession of a bladed article.