A MAN with the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ tattooed on his neck revamped his poorly parents’ dilapidated garden with gnomes and property stolen from nine neighbours.
Garden gnomes, a bird table, a bench, planters, solar lights, hanging baskets and wind chimes all found their way into 20-year-old James Searson’s new-look family garden.
But most of the items had been stolen from the gardens of retired villagers in Peartree Drive, Shirebrook and Highfield Avenue and Albine Road, Langwith Junction, both in Derbyshire.
The crime was uncovered after the council ordered a clean-up operation at Searson’s home, Chesterfield magistrates Court heard.
Angela Hadfield, prosecuting said: “Clearance work was going on at the defendant’s home, police went there, and a search recovered various stolen items.”
Melanie Hoffman, defending Searson, said the family had been warned by Bolsover Council to improve the grounds of their local authority property or face eviction.
She said Searson’s parents were unwell - his father had diabetes and his mother had brittle bone disease - and they were distressed by the council notice.
Ms Hoffman said Searson cared so much about his parents that he had ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ tattooed on his neck.
She said he set about tidying up their garden with help from his pals.
Miss Hoffman said: “He was walking around and noticed items in other gardens.
“He took a bird table, thinking he could put it in the garden and improve its appearance for the council to notice.
“He also took three buckets of gravel from an empty property and placed it in his garden,” said Ms Hoffman.
Searson, of Myrtle Close, Shirebrook, near Chesterfield, admitted theft on August 13, 23 and 28.
He also admitted six charges of receiving stolen goods between August 23 and September 2.
“He hadn’t thought about how people might have felt when their property went missing,” Ms Hoffman added.
Magistrates ordered Searson, who has no previous convictions, to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work for the community.
Searson was also told that he must pay £85 in court costs.