Peg thief’s ‘expensive mistake’

A MAN has been fined £375 for taking some metal ground pegs which he sold on to a scrap dealer for just £23.

David Rochford saw the pegs lying on an embankment near to St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, in North Lane, Elwick Village, Hartlepool, and started to put them into the back of his Transit van.

The school caretaker saw the 41-year-old and assumed he was from Nixon Hire company, which had loaned the school the pegs and other equipment to carry out some construction work.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard the caretaker became suspicious as Rochford was about to leave, as he noticed the van was not bearing a Nixon sign and he called out for him to stop.

The defendant drove off, however, and the caretaker took a note of his registration and called the police.

Prosecuting, Liam O’Brien said: “When police turned up at Rochford’s house he said straight away ‘I know what this is about, it’s about the pegs’.

“He said he thought they were scrap and he didn’t realise they were connected with the school.”

Rochford, of Raby Gardens, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to theft by finding, namely the metal pegs to the value of £210 belonging to Nixon Hire, on March 9.

Mitigating, Adrian Morris said: “My client has been out of work for four years and had hoped to become self-employed collecting scrap.

“He accepts that he should have made appropriate inquiries in the vicinity to see whether these pegs had been tipped or put there for collection by the hire company.”

Chairman of the bench Geoff Morley fined him £65, ordered him to pay a £15 victim surcharge, £85 costs and £210 compensation to Nixon Hire.