Discarded can of Kestrel lager linked would-be cable thief to crime

Trueman tried to cut through an 11,000-volt Northern Powergrid cable with a hacksaw.
Trueman tried to cut through an 11,000-volt Northern Powergrid cable with a hacksaw.

A discarded can of lager led police to a would-be electrical cable thief.

Richard Trueman tried to cut through an 11,000-volt Northern Powergrid cable with a hacksaw, South Northumbria Magistrates' Court heard.

"Police found the hacksaw blackened and fused to the cable," said Lee Poppett, prosecuting.

"The attempted theft was traced to Trueman via a can of Kestrel lager which was left at the scene.

"The can was described as being half-full, and DNA tests of it provided a positive match to Trueman."

The court heard there was a power cut in the early hours at Teal Farm in Washington.

"A team of engineers was able to restore the power by rerouting via another sub-station," said Mr Poppett.

"The source of the cut was traced to a trench on a building site.

"The trench had the cable running through it, although there is no suggestion the thieves dug the trench. That was done for legitimate building purposes, leaving the cable exposed.

"Northern Powergrid's investigating engineer comments this is the second offence of this nature at that building site."

Trueman, 39, of Tynedale Crescent, Penshaw, denied attempted theft on November 8 last year.

He was convicted of the offence after a trial.

Dan Pygall, defending, said: "There is little I can say about the offence because Mr Trueman denies it.

"There was certainly very little planning by someone who put a hacksaw to an 11,000-volt cable.

"Mr Trueman has previous convictions, but nothing since this offence in November.

"He realises at nearly 40 years old it's time to stop offending, and make something of his life.

"Mr Trueman has obtained well-paid work out of the area.

"He no longer wishes to associate with his former associates, and he is determined never to return to his former drink and drugs lifestyle."

Trueman was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £740 costs.