Murton gun thief jailed

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A MAN who stole air pistols to pay a drugs debt has been jailed for 12 months.

Anthony Schofield walked into Richardson’s garden centre in Cold Hesledon, near Murton, and took the pistols from a cabinet.

“The offences happened on two successive days,” prosecutor Stuart Graham told Durham Crown Court.

“On each occasion Schofield was dropped off by a car, and on each occasion he was caught on CCTV.

“Police traced him from the registration number of the car, which belonged to his girlfriend.”

Mr Graham told the court that the pistols were valued at £410 and they had not been recovered.

Schofield, 32, of Corporation Road, Hendon, Sunderland, admitted theft on January 11 and January 12 this year.

He has previous convictions for motoring offences, burglary and robbery.

Jane Waugh. defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Schofield was told what to steal and he foolishly did it.

“He had run up a drugs debt and was fearful of the consequences of not paying.

“There are three-year-old twins waiting for him when he is released from prison, and he has hopes of getting joinery work through a family friend who is an estate agent.”

Judge Michael Cartlidge jailed Schofied for 12 months.