Caretaker off sick broke into school to steal cash

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A SCHOOL caretaker who stole classroom computer equipment and cash from the nursery and staffroom to settle a drugs debt has been ordered to pay compensation.

Neil Noakes had worked at Highfield Hall Primary School, Newbold, Chesterfield, for seven years and was on sick leave in February when the theft occurred.

Magistrates heard the 33-year-old entered the school and took a £400 computer, a Nintendo games console and cash from tins.

Fernando Rodrigues, prosecuting, said: “He said he was a heroin addict in a large amount of debt and passed stolen items on to a third party to pay towards his drug debt.”

Noakes, of Keswick Drive, Newbold, told police he had sneaked into the school to sleep in the caretaker’s office, because he had nowhere else to go.

He had also tried to break into his ex-wife’s home in Edinburgh Road, Newbold, while living rough.

Noakes admitted burglary with theft and asked for an attempted burglary to be taken into consideration.

Tim Norton, presiding magistrate, ordered him to pay £620 compensation, with £85 costs. He also imposed a one-year probation supervision order, including a six-month drug rehabilitation programme.

Noakes told the court: “I just wish I could go back in time and make different decisions. I am now back in with my family and hope to keep on the right lines. I deeply regret what I did, I was addicted to drugs at the time.”