Scrapman caught by police holding a boiler in a puddle of water appears in court charged with handling stolen goods

A jobless scrapman has been jailed for 12 weeks after landing himself in hot water – by handling a stolen boiler.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:50 pm
Aaron Straughair, 31, of Brickgarth, Easington Lane was sentenced to 12 weeks custody at South Tyneside Magistrates Court on Thursday April 1

Aaron Straughair, 31, of Brickgarth, Easington Lane, was caught with the heating appliance outside the house it had just been pinched from.

The ground around him was wet, as was the inside of the Karbon Homes property in Martindale Park, Houghton-le-Spring, a court heard.

Straughair, who was subject to a 16-week suspended prison term for burglary and theft, denied being behind the raid on Sunday, January 19 last year.

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But he did admit handling the stolen boiler, which he claimed had been offered to him by a friend for £20 – and he had turned up to buy it - and he was charged.

The dad also confessed to stealing a wheel that was lying under a transit van in South Hetton, Sunderland, on Thursday, August 20.

He is now starting a spell behind bars after magistrates in South Tyneside activated 12 weeks of the suspended sentence.

Prosecutor Stuart Haywood said: “There was a burglary of a dwelling house at around 8.25pm.

“Police received a report of a burglary taking place, and they attend.

“This defendant was placing a hot water cylinder in the back of a Honda Civic motor vehicle.

“The defendant tells the officer that he had bought the boiler because he was a scrap man.

“Another officer checks the rear of the property and discovers that the UPVC patio door was damaged.

“There was water all over and the boiler was missing. When he was arrested, he said: ‘You’re joking, aren’t you?’”

Mr Haywood added: “He said that he had received a phone call about the boiler to buy a boiler for £20. He knew that he could make £40 for it.

“There was another man with him, and both were arrested and taken to Southwick police station.

“The defendant denied burglary but accepted handling stolen goods.”Of the tyre theft, to which Straughair also pleaded guilty, Mr Haywood said: “He drove his white Transit van in South Hetton.

“He and an unknown male got out. The other man climbed under the van to where the wheel was, and this defendant helped.

“They drove away, their rear door was still open.”

Paul McAlindon, defending, said: “Mr Straughair was in his vest top, shorts and flip flops.

“He was sat with his partner, who he is no longer with, and their three children, having tea.

“He got a call to say that he could have this boiler for £20. He was seen by the police putting it into his car.

“The majority of the time, he collects scrap legally.”

No charges were brought against the other man in relation to the house burglary, the court was told.

Straughair, who owes the courts £6,900 in fines and other costs, was jailed for 16 weeks, suspended for 12 months, on Friday, May 15 last year.

Magistrates also jailed him for eight weeks, to run concurrently, for handling stolen goods.

There was no separate penalty for the tyre theft, but Straughair was ordered to pay £450 compensation for the boiler.

There were no court costs or victim surcharge.