Pipes theft halts school extension

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A SCHOOL rebuilding project was delayed after two men stole £5,000 worth of copper piping - causing £22,000 of damage.

Work on the Birley Community College extension was halted after the men stole 12 units of piping intended for the heating system.

Stephanie Hollis, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said police were called to the Frecheville school on October 10, after a security guard saw them on CCTV.

She said: “Police saw two men carrying copper piping through the field and passing it over the fence. When the officer made himself known, the two ran away.”

Ashley Badloe, of Jaunty Avenue, Base Green, was arrested and, when questioned, named his accomplice as Daniel Stevenson, of Bowshaw Avenue, Batemoor, who was caught when he returned to the scene later that night.

In interview, Stevenson said they were planning to sell the piping for £50 to pay off a drugs debt.

Miss Hollis said, although the copper’s value was £5,000, the crime’s true cost was higher, as the piping could not be reused and it delayed work for two weeks.”

Both men admitted theft. Stevenson also admitted three thefts of alcohol from shops and breaching a suspended jail sentence.

Judith Seabourne, for Badloe, said he had been drinking heavily at the time of the offence, but was addressing the problem.

Andrew Smith, for Stevenson, said he was an alcoholic, but had managed to wean himself off.

Judge Simon Lawler QC jailed Stevenson, aged 29, for 13 months. Badloe, 19, was handed a suspended 20-week jail term and 150 hours of unpaid work.

The Star revealed yesterday how metal thieves have struck more than 4,000 times across South Yorkshire in the last 10 months.