TWO scrap metal dealers were arrested after stealing boilers from some South Tyneside houses that are in the process of being demolished.
Arron Straughair, 23, and Scott White, 31, were caught on CCTV taking two boilers from Reyrolle Court in Hebburn, which is owned by South Tyneside Council, and driving off.
Police caught up with them on nearby Glen Street and found the scrap in the back of their van.
Straughair and White pleaded guilty to theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “This happened on a Sunday and police were notified of a potential theft by council CCTV cameras.
“The defendants were in a van on Glen Street in Hebburn when police pulled them over.
“There were two boilers that were taken from site in the back of the van.
“They were both arrested and Straughair told the officers that he was a self-employed metal dealer.”
Paul McAlindon, defending, told the court that both defendants are fully-registered scrap metal collectors.
He added: “They have been to the site before and took scrap legitimately after asking permission from the contractors working on the demolition.
“This time there was no one there so they couldn’t do that. What they should have done was leave it and go back later when some people were there.
“They know it was the wrong thing to do.”
The court heard both men have previous convictions for theft.
Magistrates adjourned the case until Friday for the probation service to prepare reports about Straughair, of Brick Court, Houghton-le-Spring, and White, of Potter Square, Sunderland.
They were granted bail until then on the conditions that they live at the addresses given to court and do not enter South Tyneside.