Judge gives serial offender a ‘last chance’ after theft

Judge Heather Lloyd
Judge Heather Lloyd

A man wearing a police tracking device designed to help him stay out of trouble succumbed to temptation and stole expensive gardening equipment from a house in Thornton.

Wesley Austin, 20, of Beach Road, Cleveleys, was wearing an ankle tag voluntarily after being released from prison for burglary and theft.

But a court heard that, despite the potential deterrent, Austin was caught stealing a petrol chainsaw and hedge trimmer from a garden in Skippool Road, after the homeowner spotted him carrying the items and gave chase.

The offences, which were committed in April, came within two months of Austin being released from prison.

He had been fitted with the GPS device as part of an initiative run by the Revolution police team, which manages jailed offenders once they are released back into the community.

Chris Hudson, prosecuting, said a man was at home with a friend of his son when he noticed Austin in his back garden. Austin was carrying his petrol chainsaw and the hedge trimmer.

The defendant ran off when shouted at, and the stolen items were found on a grass verge outside.

The two men went in a car to search for Austin and found him at a nearby nature reserve. A struggle took place and he was detained until police arrived.

The court also heard that Austin had gone on to damage the tag he was wearing, while he was in a police cell.

Julie Taylor, defending, said Austin had an unenviable record for someone of his age.

He said that he was looking for scrap metal at the time, while working for local travellers. He could not resist taking the items.

The tag he was wearing was not a curfew type one, but more of a GPS tracking device.It is to help people when they are released, to try and remain out of trouble.

“Obviously, it didn’t work here,” added Miss Taylor.

“They are used to try and get people into college and training and into employment. He says he could not resist the temptation when he saws the items. He is not suggesting they were scrap.”

Austin had spent nearly three months in custody since his arrest, and asked for one last chance.

After sparing him a custodial sentence, Judge Heather Lloyd told him: “As you approach your 21st birthday, I hope you will take the opportunity to grow up”.