Teenager in court over safe stolen from Cheltenham business
By court reporter | 16th June 2020
A safe stolen from the Oak Furniture Land store in Cheltenham was found in the middle of a street surrounded by three youths in dark clothing, a court heard on Monday (June 15).
Cheltenham Magistrates were told that in the early hours of December 9th 2018 police officers on patrol in the Upper Hatherley area spotted the white safe in the middle of Hazebrouck Close.
Sian Hunt, prosecuting, said: "One of the officers spotted somebody cowering down a few metres away from the safe and went to investigate.
"He noticed three suspicious looking youths in dark clothing hiding behind a bush in an alleyway and when he identified himself to them two young men ran off and disappeared but he managed to detain the third."
She said Callum Finn, who was 16 at the time but is now 18, of Oldbury Road, Cheltenham, was arrested while police dog handlers were called out to the address but they failed to find the others.
Prosecutor Sian Hunt said: "Mr Baldwin from Oak Furniture Land on the Gallagher Retail Park in Tewkesbury Road, Cheltenham, told the police the store had been broken into and that the safe had been stolen.
"Mr Baldwin said that the building had been secured at 6pm on December 8 when he locked up. But when he returned to work the following morning the front glass doors to the unit had been smashed.
"Somebody had climbed through the first floor serving hatch and ripped the floor-mounted safe from its fixings.
"Some latex gloves were found at the scene and seized for DNA comparison. Glass fragments were also retrieved from the scene."
The court was told that Finn's jogging bottoms also had the same compound of glass embedded within the clothing and that the DNA came back with a positive match for Finn.
"The damage caused by this offence was estimated to be £1,000 to replace the door, a further £1,500 to replace the damaged safe and its contents, which was beyond repair," added the prosecutor.
Finn admitted a charge of non-dwelling burglary on 8/9 December, 2018.
Nikki Shaw defending said: "I had to inform Finn this morning that he was a youth when he committed this offence but now he has turned 18, he has become an adult in the eyes of the law and will face tougher sentencing.
"He was contacted by a member of the county's youth offending team and was told of the importance in coming to court last Friday to be dealt whilst he was as a youth. He failed to attend. A warrant for his arrest was issued.
"He had no idea until I spoke to him today what becoming an adult on Saturday really meant within the court system. He didn't realise the difference between the two court procedures.
"I feel he would benefit from a pre-sentence report, especially as this offence was committed some time ago."
Andrew Tabor, chairman of the magistrates, pointed out that Finn was also interviewed in 2018 and asked why was it only now that he is appearing before the courts, especially as he was a youth.
The prosecutor was unable to answer the question.
Mr Tabor ordered a pre-sentence report on Finn from the probation service and bailed him pending sentence on July 6.
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