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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester man stole £6,700 worth of tools and golf clubs

A 49-year-old Gloucester man who broke into two sheds in Matson and stole over £6,700 worth of tools and golf clubs has avoided jail and been sentenced to a 30-month community order.

At Gloucester Crown Court, prosecutor Nicholas Lee explained that Gary Hayes was woken up during the early hours of August 23 by noise outside his home in Caledonian Road, Matson.

"He drifted in and out of sleep for a while but when he heard the sound of a trolley being dragged he became fully awake.

"At 6.30am he heard a loud bang which he thought was coming from his garden, he looked out of the window and saw that the door to his shed had been forced open.

"He then saw a man bent down behind his car on the driveway. Mr Hayes ran downstairs, only to see the man disappear down an alleyway and back into his garden. Mr Hayes challenged the man who ran towards a car parked nearby, leaving Mr Hayes' toolbox taken from the shed, on the driveway.

"Mr Hayes catches up with the man in the car and challenges him again. The man, later identified as Jason Brown, got out of the vehicle, and tried to explain that it was two other men who had been stealing from Mr Hayes shed and that the toolbox had been left by them.

"Mr Hayes didn't believe Brown's version of events and he asked him, where were the other men? Brown showed Mr Hayes a place in the fence where he claimed that they had got in. Again, Mr Hayes didn't believe him, and Brown ran back to his car and drove off.

"Mr Hayes carried out an investigation into what had been taken and found a strimmer and some extension leads that didn't belong to him. It was later identified as coming from a neighbour's shed which had also been broken into."

The court heard that a set of golf clubs and other tools valued at £6,700 had been taken from Mr Hayes' shed. The prosecutor didn't have the value of the items stolen from the neighbour's shed.

The court was told that Brown returned to the same street at 7am the following morning and was spotted trying the doors of other houses.

Brown was identified and arrested by police and Mr Hayes was able to give a positive identification.

Mr Brown claimed in his police interview that he was staying with a friend nearby before making no comment to police in interview.

Mr Lee concluded that Brown 'embarked on a degree of planning for the two non-dwelling burglaries which involved forcing a gate open and prizing open the shed. He also made a number of trips back and forth to his car with the stolen items. Mr Hayes suffered a substantial loss caused by the burglary. His neighbour's loss was significantly less.'

Steven Young defending Brown, said: "Whilst he has been in prison on remand, he's undergone a mental health assessment.

"It appears that he has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and this assessment test was carried out after a young family member had also been diagnosed with the disorder.

"He knows this is the case and he is on medication. But it also explains some of his behaviour in the past.

"Brown suggests that due to the bereavement of three members of his close family, he relapsed into using class A drugs as a form of therapy.

"Their deaths hit him particularly hard, and he hadn't received any counselling from professionals to deal with his personal trauma.

"Whilst in custody for the past 11 weeks, he has become an enhanced prisoner and has weaned himself off class A drugs.

"He realises that class A drugs has been the bane of his life and he is sick of being in custody. I believe a community order will be more beneficial to him in the long run instead of locking him up.

"Because of his medication, Brown is now in a positive frame of mind which will be contusive in making this work."

Judge Ian Lawrie told Brown that he is going to have to prove that he warrants being sentenced to a community order and added: "This is not a get out of jail card option. You need to learn some valuable lessons."

Brown responded: "Because of the medication I am on for ADHD, I feel a lot calmer now. I am getting too old for all this, and I will appreciate the chance to prove myself. I have a job lined up if I am released from prison shortly."

Brown of Beaufort Road, Gloucester admitted committing the two non-dwelling burglaries in Caledonian Road, Matson on August 23, 2022.

Judge Lawrie continued: "I understand that you resorted to the non-dwelling burglaries because you had relapsed into using drugs.

"You, however, have an extensive antecedence history which under normal circumstances I wouldn't be considering anything other than a custodial sentence.

"But your pre-sentence report and the ADHD diagnosis and the mental health report suggests that there is real possibility of rehabilitation. This is made even more likely because of the letter from the prison showing that you gained enhanced status while being a prisoner."

The judge sentenced Brown to a community order for two-and-a-half years which includes 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a six-month drug rehabilitation review.

The judge also ordered that Brown pay £500 compensation to Mr Hayes and a mandatory surcharge of £114.

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