Theft bid blamed on economy

TWIN brothers were caught trying to steal scrap metal from a disused factory.

Connor Evans and Matthew Braithwaite-Evans blamed rising unemployment and a life on benefits as reasons for the fact they were out looking for loot at the former Sharwoods factory, in Greatham, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

The 19-year-olds were stopped by police around 1.45pm on February 10 and were in possession of various tools, including a hammer, a hacksaw blade and a craft knife, as well as other items.

Prosecutor Lynne Dalton told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court that the pair had been seen in the area with the tools on them and they intended to use them in the theft of metal from the site.

The brothers were arrested and made full and frank admissions of going to the site with the intention of looking for scrap metal to weigh in for cash.

Evans, of Richardson Street, and Braithwaite-Evans, of Beaconsfield Square, both Hartlepool, admitted going equipped for theft.

The court heard Evans was already subject to a community order made when he was a youth.

Braithwaite-Evans was “lightly convicted”, with two convictions and two cautions and had not been in court since September 2009.

Stuart Haywood, mitigating for the pair, said: “It is not an excuse by any means but we are very clearly facing times of rising unemployment and rising inflation.

“These two young men are on benefits and the benefits system isn’t rising in line with inflation.

“It isn’t an excuse but it gives illustrations when people on Jobseeker’s Allowance are on £50 a week and the rising costs of living are forcing further hardship.

“Had they received any metal they would have simply sold it on as scrap for money.”

Braithwaite-Evans was fined £100 with £50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge and Evans was placed on a further 12-month community order with £50 costs to pay.