A teenage burglar threw an £18,000 Rolex watch into the SEA when he could not sell it on the local black market.
Paul Ashcroft, 18, stole the 20-year-old watch, along with high value jewellery and an iPad in a burglary while the householder, a merchant seaman, was at sea.
Property stolen has sentimental value that can never be restored
But Ashcroft felt immediate guilt and handed himself into the police the following day, Preston Crown Court heard.
Philip Clarke, prosecuting, said: “He hoped to sell these items on to people in the local area but when he couldn’t find anyone who wanted to buy them he threw them in the sea at Fleetwood.”
Daniel Harman, defending, said Ashcroft was naive and did not appreciate the value of what he had in his hands.
He said: “If he had known what he had taken he wouldn’t have thrown it into the sea.” The watches were a blackfaced Rolex Submariner, a stainless steel faced Omega Seamaster and a 18ct rose gold Breitling Navitimer.
He said the burglar had lived a crime free life until he was thrown out of his foster home for taking a vehicle without consent, four months before he committed the burglary. Ashcroft, who targeted the home in Addison Road, Fleetwood, on May 19, is now living in supported accommodation in Lytham and has taken steps to tackle his drug use. Recorder Mukhtar Hussain QC, sentencing, said: “Very often, as in this case, the property stolen has sentimental value that can never be restored. Once the item is lost then gone with the item are the memories of that particular item - when it was given and who it was given by.
“This was clearly a burglary during the day but you surrendered to the police. I regard that to be genuine remorse.”The judge handed Ashcroft, of London Street, Fleetwood, a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, a 30 day rehabilitation activity and a nine month drugs program.
He must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.