Sunderland scrap dealer caught stealing from car parts manufacturer site
Arron Straughair was spotted driving his Ford Transit van around Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate, Houghton, on Wednesday, October 7 – and leaving empty handed.
But a witness saw Straughair, of Brick Garth, Easington Lane, Houghton, return the next day and raid a recycling bin containing scrap metal belonging to Lear Corporation.
He took waste valued at £200 – but police were alerted, and he was later arrested, magistrates in South Tyneside were told.
Straughair has now been sentenced to a 12-month community order and must complete 40 hours of unpaid work and pay Lear Corporation £200 of compensation.
Prosecutor Grace Taylor said: “At about 10.25am a witness reported to the police that a red Ford Transit van was on the premises of a manufacturing company that holds various metals on site.
“The van had been seen on the previous day on the premises and it had driven around before leaving.
“The van parked up and loaded metal from a scrap bin. The metal had an estimated value of £200.
“The police did a vehicle check of the number plate. Mr Straughair was arrested, and he made full admissions.”
The court heard Straughair has 16 previous convictions from 20 offences, including 10 for theft or kindred.
At the same hearing another theft offence by Straughair, of unlawfully taking £30 of scrap metal, was taken into account by magistrates.
Paul McAlindon, defending, said: “He has admitted the offence at the first opportunity and made full admissions to the police.
“Mr Straughair is someone who tries to make a living from scrap metal, and he does have various licences to carry scrap metal.
“By and large, he does this legitimately, but as you can see from his record, he sometimes doesn’t check as he should do.
“He went in his van and knew the scrap was there. The reality is that these companies have contracts to have the scrap collected, not just for people to come and take.”
Straughair, who pleaded guilty to theft by finding, must complete 16 days of rehabilitation days with the Probation Service as part of the community order.
There were no court costs.