A joiner working on the construction of a £29million Sunderland College campus helped himself to copper cables from the site to make a weapon.
Brian Ellis entered an unauthorised area of the City Campus site in Holmeside and cut through a section of electric cable, Sunderland magistrates heard.
He was cutting the copper cable when a supervisor came along. He was caught in the actRebecca Laverick, prosecuting
And although, Ellis sped off in a vehicle when was challenged for his behaviour – on April 14 – the 47-year-old returned to work the following day.
Prosecutor Rebecca Laverick said that although the length of cable was short, the knock-on effects caused a loss to BAM Construction of £2,000 – something that is not accepted by the defence.
“This offence concerns the theft of copper cable from a building site, where he was working,” Ms Laverick said. “He was cutting the copper cable when a supervisor came along. He was caught in the act.
“He is a joiner. He had reason to be in one part of the site. He went to a part here had no authority to be.”
Ms Lavberick said that when two other workers asked him what he was doing, he told them he was making a cosh, and they assumed that was something to do with his job.
Ms Laverick explained that a cosh is a type of offensive weapon.
“In his police interview he was told not to say that, or answer any questions to incriminate himself, after he said he found that copper piping was a better weapon to use, because it was lighter and more effective than a baseball bat.”
Ellis, of Balkwell Avenue, North Shields, admitted theft.
Ian Hodgson, defending, said Ellis, and had been working for a subcontractor at the time, had been threatened by his ex-partner’s family.
As a result, he was going to keep the copper under his bed in case they came around.
“He should have just bought a baseball bat,” Mr Hodgson added, saying: “He lost his job as a result of what he did. He was going through a bad patch in his life.”
Ellis was given a 12-month community order with 15 days’ specified activity and 150 hours’ unpaid work. She was told to pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.