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Thieves targetted homes homes due to be demolished
TWO Basingstoke men went on a “campaign of plundering” by stripping metal from homes earmarked for destruction.
Winchester Crown Court heard that Leon Banning and Terrence Watts, both 20, stripped out £17,000 worth of copper piping, wiring and water storage tanks from vacant maisonettes at Taverner Close which had been closed off for demolition by Sentinel Housing Association.
Police officers also recovered 20,000 Tesco plastic carrier bags – worth £200 – when they raided Banning’s home on April 2.
Banning and Watts, both of Mullins Close, Oakridge, pleaded guilty to the burglaries at North Hampshire Magistrates’ Court on June 4. They were committed to the crown court for sentence.
The court heard that when officers went to Banning’s home, they noticed a large amount of copper piping in the garage and also the large quantity of Tesco carrier bags.
Simon Edwards, prosecuting, said the police determined that the pair had “systematically entered and stripped the properties of copper wiring, radiators, and boilers”.
When interviewed by the police, Banning said the crime spree was his idea, and that Watts was merely an accomplice.
The court also heard that Banning, while on bail, burgled a flat in St Michael’s Road, in South Ham.
The former Grangeside School pupil stole an X-box games console and threatened a couple in bed with a knife in his hand.
He also threw an ashtray at a 20-year-man. Banning admitted the aggravated burglary.
Addressing the pair regarding the metal thefts, Judge Andrew Barnett said: “You went on a campaign of plundering, principally the metal from these properties, to obtain gain for yourselves.
"Both of you must realise that society is displeased at people who behave in your way.”
Addressing Banning about the aggravated burglary, the judge said: “They were threatened out of their lives and it is an experience they will long remember and find hard to forget. It was made worse that it was committed on bail.”
Banning received a 30-month prison sentence in a young offenders institution, while Watts was given an eight-month sentence, suspended for a year.
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