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Gloucestershire Business News

Jail for lead thieves

Two Bristol men were jailed today for stealing the lead from the roof of a Cheltenham independent school whilst the headmaster and his family slept inside.

A third burglar who took part in the raid did not attend Gloucester crown court today to face his sentence and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Jordan Moore, 22, of Delabere Avenue, Oldbury Court, Ashley Miles, 20, of Tomarton Crescent, Henbury, and Daniel Asher, 32, of Guinea Lane, Bristol had all admitted stealing lead from the roof of St Edwards Preparatory School in Cheltenham on 6th July 2017.

The cost of the repair to the school approached £8,500.

Moore was jailed for six months, with Asher for eight months. But Miles did not attend court and is now a wanted man.

Prosecutor, Philip Warren, told the judge, Recorder Craig Morrison: "At 2.10am on 6th July 2017 the headmaster called the police.

"He thought the house that he and his family lived in was being broken into," the barrister said. "In fact lead was being stripped from the roof in quite large quantities.

"By the time the police arrived, nobody was there, but the offenders returned. The police were called again."

Mr Warren said there was 'extensive removal of lead'.

Two pairs of tin snippers and bottle of soft drink were found at the scene.

"A Mercedes van found a short distance away with these three defendants in it, pretending to be asleep," Mr Warren told the judge.

The three were all arrested and made no comment at interview but were forensically linked to the crime by DNA tests, the barrister said.

Mr Warren added the school was a listed building. He highlighted elements of 'professionalism' in the offending.

The court heard that Asher had 31 previous convictions for 63 offences; Miles had 12 convictions for 19 offences and Moore two for three offences.

Imposing the jail terms on the two men before him, Recorder Morrison said: "At 2.10am police received a report from the school that someone was breaking in.

"Police arrived, nothing was found, but it was clear that someone was trying to steal lead from the roof.

"The headmaster's family had observed you and your co-offenders on the premises attempting to steal it.

"This caused serious alarm and distress.

"It seemed you returned to the school, and the police called again. You were found in a car nearby."

Referring to the cutters and snips found, the judge noted there was 'plainly a degree of preparation'.

"I see limited mitigating factors," the judge said.

He recognised Asher had made 'progress made in prison' and referred to a 'difficult position of an aged grandfather'.

With Moore, the judge said: "I see the difficult background circumstances.

"I have considered the probation recommendation, but it has to be custody."

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