Workman stole from Sunderland student accommodation he was renovating

Darryl Scott, 28, of Burdon Street, Percy Main, North Shields.
Darryl Scott, 28, of Burdon Street, Percy Main, North Shields.

A workman has narrowly avoided a jail sentence after he stole from the Sunderland student accommodation he was helping to renovate.

Opportunist thief Darryl Scott was carrying out work on Phoenix House in Union Street, in the city centre, when he swiped a resident’s iPad mini on September 14, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Union Street, Sunderland

Union Street, Sunderland

Now the 28-year-old, who lost his job as a result of the crime, has been handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for a year.

Prosecutor Lesley Burgess said the victim had been using the £400 device in a communal area of her student flat earlier that day.

“She left the iPad mini on the sofa and went out,” Ms Burgess said.

“She returned a few hours later and noticed that it was no longer on the sofa.

He has already lost his job as a result of this offence and you may feel that he deserves that

Mark Richardson, defending

“Whilst the victim has been out of the house the defendant, who was carrying out some work on Phoenix House, has attended the communal kitchen-dining area to get some water.

“He saw the iPad and took it and placed it inside the waistband of his trousers.

“A cleaner has become aware of what happened. She stopped and spoke to the defendant because she has seen the fact that the defendant took the iPad.

“The matter was reported to the police who attended and Scott was arrested and transported to the police station.”

Scott, of Burdon Street, Percy Main, North Shields, admitted theft.

The iPad was returned to its rightful owner, the court was told.

Scott has 33 previous offences on his record and is already subject to a community order.

Mark Richardson, defending, said: “A suspended sentence will be a clear message being sent to Mr Scott that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

“This is a very unsophisticated offence, aggravated by a breach of trust, given that he was working in the course of his employment.

“It was a spur of the moment decision - he took it without any thought of the consequences.

“He was challenged thereafter and it was returned to the owner.

“He has already lost his job as a result of this offence and you may feel that he deserves that.

“His employer has refused to pay him and he’s had to go to the small claims court.”

Scott was also told to pay £85 costs and £115 surcharge.