A BURGLAR was APP-rehended – after computer–savvy staff at the firm he stole more than £5,000 of hi-tech goods from helped police snare him with an online tracking device.
Peter Forshaw took three laptops, two iPads, a mobile phone, a watch and £200 in cash during a raid at insulation installation company Team 42 Ltd. in Jarrow.
But forward-thinking bosses had installed a free computer application – called Find My iPad – to quickly find the location of one of the stolen iPads while police were at the premises carrying out investigations.
When officers arrived at the property, in Beach Road, South Shields, which had been pinpointed, bosses at the firm were able to remotely set off an alarm on the iPad device so it could be easily located.
The iPad, as well as the watch and some of the other stolen items, were then found in a back yard.
Forshaw, 39, of Broughton Road, South Shields, was later arrested by police after forensic reports linked a bag containing some of the goods to him.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, told South Tyneside Magistrates: “Team 42 is based at Royal Industrial Estate, Jarrow.
“On June 26, a staff member found entry had been forced to a first-floor window, and a number of items had been taken from the office to the value of £5,600.
“Police were called and an Apple app was used to locate the iPad to an address on Beach Road.
“An alarm was then set off on the iPad when police arrived, and they found it in the rear yard.”
Forshaw initially denied the burglary before changing his plea to guilty at a court hearing earlier this month.
He was back at court yesterday for sentencing.
He also admitted stealing £42 of razors from Morrisons supermarket in Jarrow, just two days after the burglary.
The court heard that Forshaw had only been released from prison in November for a separate offence.
Valerie Bell, defending, said: “I accept his record isn’t great, and there is a number of previous convictions recorded against him. He has struggled with drink and alcohol problems in the past.
“When he is stable, has work and is in a steady relationship he can stay out of trouble.
“There is a significant gap in offending from 2010 through to 2013.
“Things went wrong when a realtionship ended, culminating with him going to prison last November.
“He has made every effort since his release from prison to sort himself out and has got himself a tenancy.”
She added: “I accept his previous convictions will be taken into account and you may feel the custody threshold has been crossed, but I would invite you to suspend any sentence of imprisonment and impose a community order.
“He has been round the block. He knows if you give him this opportunity and he messes it up, he will go to jail.”
Magistrates took into account a positive pre-sentence report from the probation service when delivering their verdict.
Dave Errington, chairman of the magistrates, told Forshaw: “It would’ve been easy to impose upon you an immediate custodial sentence. However, because your probation report is positive, we are going to suspend your sentence.
“We have given you a chance, it’s entirely up to you now. If you fall foul, then the likelihood is you will be jailed.”
Forshaw was given a 23-week prison sentence for the burglary and four weeks for the shop theft, to run concurrently, with both suspended for 18 months.
He was also handed an 18-month community supervision order and given an electronically-monitored curfew for two months, running from 9pm to 7am daily.
He must also pay compensation of £2,260 to Team 42 for the items not recovered, and £42.38 to Morrisons supermarket for the theft of the razors.