Thieving flat squatter given six weeks jail

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A thief who stole building materials from a flat where he was squatting has been jailed.

David Potts, 32, pleaded guilty to theft after the landlord of the block of flats, where Potts was staying, found stolen property in his flat.

It seems to me when I look at your record - which is a bad record for dishonesty - that these are both matters which cross the custody threshold

Preston Crown Court heard Potts had been squatting in Flat 10 of the property in Watson Road, Blackpool, when the landlord called the police, saying he had seen two men running away from the building.

The police returned with Potts in tow but the landlord said he was not one of the men he had seen running away.

When they took Potts to Flat 10 to collect his property so that he would leave the premises they discovered £400 of building equipment - which had been previously stored in the ground floor flat.

An electric heater had been fixed to the wall and there was a shower unit, a second heater, paint, drills and other building equipment, which was intended to renovate some of the flats in the building.

Potts was arrested but after being released on bail he was found hiding around the back of Halfords in Blackpool following reports to the police of two men acting suspiciously on bikes.

Officers discovered Potts, of no fixed address, hiding in a bin at the back of the store with a torch, bolt cutters and gloves.

He pleaded guilty to theft and going equipped for theft and appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

Judge Robert Altham said: “It seems to me when I look at your record - which is a bad record for dishonesty - that these are both matters which cross the custody threshold.”

He jailed Potts for six weeks and ordered him to be under supervision for 12 months following his release on licence.

He must also pay a statutory surcharge to the court.