THIEVES who stole 15 televisions intended for residents of an old people’s home have been branded “indescribably mean” and put behind bars.
The new sets were taken during refurbishment work at Pavillion Care Centre, in North View Terrace, Houghton in the autumn of 2012.
Newcastle Crown Court heard it is unclear when or how the sets were taken.
Anthony Newall, 26, of Sunderland Road, Houghton, whose girlfriend worked at the home, was collared after police found one of the stolen televisions at his father’s home.
Karl Hogg, 26, of Baker Street, also Houghton, was linked to the thefts by text messages found on his mobile phone, which had been seized by police in relation to something else.
Mr Recorder William Lowe QC jailed Hogg, who admitted conspiracy to steal and unrelated charges of cannabis production and supply as well as dangerous driving, for two years.
Newall, who admitted conspiracy to steal, was jailed for eight months.
The judge told them: “This involved the theft of televisions from a care home for the elderly, an old folks’ home.
“It was indescribably mean and it was carefully planned. You knew those televisions had been obtained for those old folk and nonetheless you stole them.”
The judge said the televisions would cost £1,800 to replace, at a time when the cost of care is already “crippling”.
Bob Spragg, defending, said Hogg has made the most of the six months he has spent on remand by completing courses and has recently become a father.
Paul Currer, defending, said Newall has mental health problems which were responsible for him leaving the education system at a young age.
Newall’s father was dealt with by magistrates for handling the stolen television set found at his home. Hogg’s partner Zoe Newall, 24, also of Baker Street, admitted allowing her premises to be used for his cannabis farm, which was found growing behind a false wall in their home.
Newall, who has never been in trouble before, was sentenced to a community order for 12 months.
A spokesman for Pavillion Care Centre said: “We are pleased that the sentencing reflects the breach of trust shown by these individuals.
“The health and wellbeing of the people we support is our number one priority.”