Prison for thief who targeted old Gas Street nightclub site - The Rugby Observer

Prison for thief who targeted old Gas Street nightclub site

Rugby Editorial 16th Jul, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

A MAN with a string of previous convictions stole copper piping, electric cable and tools from a housing building site where the old Gas Street nightclub once stood in the town centre.

Damian Hyett pleaded not guilty to a charge of burglary at the Partner Construction site in January, claiming while he did steal materials and tools he denied having entered any of the almost-completed properties.

But his offer at Warwick Crown Court to plead guilty to an alternative offence of theft was rejected by the prosecution.

And at a further hearing prosecutor Paul Dhami asked to add a charge of theft, to which the 35-year-old, of Parkfield Road in Rugby, then pleaded guilty before being jailed for 22 weeks.

The court heard a CCTV operator noticed two men acting suspiciously loading items from the site into the boot of a Ford Mondeo at around 11.30pm on January 14 and when the police turned up they ran off but were quickly caught.

In the boot of the Mondeo and in the car itself the police found copper piping, electrical cable, plumbing equipment and tools which the site manager confirmed the following day had been stolen from the site.

When questioned Hyett, who had 45 previous convictions for 184 offences of dishonesty, said he had gone there to take items from a skip to sell them on.

Mr Dhami pointed out the other man, whose record involved 34 convictions for 76 offences, pleaded guilty to theft in magistrates court three days after they had been arrested and was jailed for 18 weeks, consecutive to seven weeks of a suspended sentence he was also ordered to serve.

And Robert Hodgkinson, defending, argued Hyett had already been in custody for seven weeks on remand so should get the same 18-week sentence.

But Judge Richard Griffith-Jones agreed in part, but added: “The difficulty with different courts dealing with it, is why should I be stuck with someone else’s assessment of sentence rather than my own?

“Because of his record I would have considered a starting point of 12 months, but there has to be some parity here.”

Jailing Hyett, the judge told him giving him credit for his plea he would have sentenced him for 32 weeks, but that could be reduced further to 22 weeks in view of the sentence passed by the magistrates on the other man.

“Your offending is well beyond just being a nuisance. This sort of theft is damaging to business,” the Judge told him.

“There are quick profits to be made from such offences. People who commit them and who have a bad record for dishonesty have to understand a custodial sentence will follow.

“But this case exemplifies the difficulties which can arise when two people are not sentenced at the same time by the same court.”


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