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Metal thief targeted rural business near Preston

Central Power Services
Central Power Services

A burglar who targeted two businesses in rural areas for metal has admitted a string of offences.

Intruder Paul Austin stole around £5,000 worth of copper wiring from company Central Power Services in Garstang Road, Brock, near Preston, during a break in on January 2, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told.

Austin, of Albert Street, Clayton-le-Moors, Blackburn, also pleaded guilty to burgling Glyn Weir in Bilsborrow, near Preston, for scrap metal on January 15 this year.

Prosecuting, Tracy Yates said: “ Between 8pm and 9pm the offenders, including the defendant, have stolen copper wire from a compound secured by metal fencing.

“An angle grinder tool had been used to shear off the lock.

“Within the compound several CCTV cameras were found to have been deliberately turned around at the site.

Several security lights sensors were taped over.

The 38-year-old defendant’s DNA was later linked to the tape.

The court head a Vauxhall Navarro van was seen near the scene.

The same van was then seen on January 15 driving out of a rural lane without lights.

The prosecutor told the court a quick witted resident had rumbled the break in at Central Power Services.

She added: “ At around 9.45pm police received a call from a witness who believe he had disturbed a break in.

“He felt it was suspicious. He followed the vehicle and followed it onto the M6 and M65.

“ It exited at junction 6 and was stopped with defendant driving. The van was searched and scrap metal, mainly alloy wheels, were found.”

Austin, who also admits driving without insurance or a licence, 29 convictions for 48 offences including matters of dishonesty.

A district judge ruled the case too serious to be dealt with by the magistrates court and committed the matter to be dealt with at Preston Crown Court on November 6.

Metal thefts have become more prevalent in recent years as demand has soared in the Far East, pushing up the value of scrap metal.