Three in court over metal theft from Sunderland building site

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THREE crooks have appeared in court after raiding a city centre building site to steal a haul of scrap metal.

John Duggan, 21, Edward Gill, 46, and 19-year-old Kyal Mattocks were caught having entered the Balfour Beatty compound on St Mary’s Way on March 4.

They were discovered after a security firm, which monitors the site remotely, alerted police to the intruders at 11.07pm, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Paul Doney said police who were called to the scene could see people inside the compound. One male was seen throwing items over a fence and onto a grassed area.

Another male was in the compound and one was on the grassed area receiving the items, Mr Doney said.

When spotted, they ran off towards Galley’s Gill, but were arrested and taken to the Gill Bridge Police Station a short time later.

Officers found a section of fencing had been removed allowing entry into the compound and there was a skip full of cabling inside, which matched the “large quantity” of cable that had been removed from the site and covered in plastic sheeting on the grass.

Balfour Beatty has identified the cable, in 1m to 3m sections, as belonging to them. No value was given.

Duggan, of Mariner Square in the East End, Gill, of Tower Street West, and Mattocks, of Athol Road, both in Hendon, were initially charged with burglary, but later pleaded guilty to an alternative count of theft.

Chris Wilson, representing Gill and Mattocks, said: “On the day in question, all three males had been in Millfield and were returning to Mr Gill’s home address in Hendon. They walked past the building site outside the court. At that time they saw a skip full of cabling and went to investigate. Alarms were activated and police attended.

“There was no agreement as to what they were going to do, no plan. Effectively, the men were walking past and decided to go in.

“Mr Mattocks has no great propensity to appear in court for offences of dishonesty. He has one previous conviction from the youth court. Mr Gill has previous matters recorded against him. He accepts culpability and pleads guilty at the first opportunity.”

David Sherwood-Smith, for Duggan, said: “He has a number of previous convictions, but only two of these are for dishonesty.”

The defendants were each fined £110 with £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.