Maintenance workers stole £2,000 lead after being trusted to carry out repair roof (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Darlington thieves took £2,000 lead after being trusted to repair Bishop Auckland roof
TWO thieves stripped lead flashing worth more than £2,000 from a terrace of houses after being employed to repair a broken roof ridge, a court heard.
Michael Alan Milburn and Jimmy Nicholson, both from Darlington, were tasked with repairing the tiles on a 66-year-old man’s Bishop Auckland home on June 12.
Instead they took lead flashing from the man’s roof and two neighbouring houses worth £2,278.94, Newton Aycliffe magistrates were told.
The pair were working for Nicholson’s father’s maintenance company J&M Property Maintenance and have since been sacked - the firm having no knowledge or connection to the thefts.
Prosecutor Chris Atkinson said the men were spotted stripping the lead, from the properties owned by Dale and Valley Homes by a neighbour who alerted police.
When officers arrived, Nicholson, 22, of Claremont Road, and Milburn, 30, of Close Street, Darlington, denied stealing the lead and insisted it had come legitimately from a previous job.
Nicholson even challenged the officers to: “Prove that it’s stolen”, Mr Atkinson said.
“The obvious problem was the lead was missing from three roofs and it had all been there before the two started their work.”
The prosecutor said it was fortunate the theft was spotted otherwise the householders could have been left with thousands of pounds worth of repair bills had it rained.
Mr Atkinson said: “All too often we hear not just of metal thefts but of vulnerable people being taken advantage of, as in this case.
“They were trusted to do a job and these two men took advantage of that.”
The court heard that Milburn has 14 convictions for 30 offences including 10 for dishonesty while Nicholson has one conviction for three offences, all thefts, and three cautions including one for theft and one for forgery.
Amrit Jandoo, mitigating, said both men, who each admitted three counts of theft, suffer depression and have severe financial difficulties, with Nicholson owing around £1,000 and Milburn having a newborn baby to provide for.
He added that both are “extremely apologetic” and have offered to return to the homes to replace the lead and repair the damage caused.
Magistrates adjourned the case until Thursday, September 12, to Darlington Magistrates’ Court for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.
Both were released on unconditional bail.