Thief identified after appearing 'as clear as day' on CCTV camera

An opportunist thief was identified after he appeared “as clear as day” on his victim’s home security camera in Sunderland, a court heard.

Declan Todd, 24, was one of three raiders involved in the raid at a property on the Ford Estate.

Todd, of Meadow Street, Houghton, and his partners in crime were caught on camera driving past in daylight on Sunday, August 7, then reversing into position, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.

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Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “CCTV footage reveals everything about this case. What you see is CCTV from the house.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

“A white van goes past for 10 to 15 yards and then reverses. Three people get out, and two have hoods but this defendant doesn’t.

“The CCTV is clear that it shows them going next to an outside shed or garage. They take items and put them into the van.

“The burglary element is where this defendant comes around and goes to a locked door of the shed.

“He takes out what looks like a chainsaw and a roll of copper piping. It’s as clear as day, if you like.

“It’s the middle of summer and the defendant is quite clearly involved. One of the other men is possibly known to police but is yet to be apprehended.

“There’s three people acting together. It seems to be a case of driving past and ‘there’s something we can get’.”

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Todd, who has 15 previous convictions, including nine theft offences, pleaded guilty to non-dwelling burglary and theft.

The court heard he was handed a suspended prison term in May 2021 for a non-dwelling burglary, and owes the courts £2,600 in past fines and costs.

Robin Ford, defending, said: “They hadn’t planned to go there. They drove past and saw opportunity.

“I can’t disagree with anything the prosecution has said. That’s as fair an analysis of CCTV as you can give. It’s a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity.”

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Magistrates sentenced Todd to a 12-month community order, with 20 rehabilitation days and a place on the Thinking Skills programme.

He also must complete 80 hours of unpaid work and pay his victim £400 compensation.