Couple stole over £10,000 of designer clothes and tools from Maserati parked in Whitburn

A couple who pinched over £10,000 of designer clothes and tools from an unlocked sports car have avoided being jailed.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 7:00 am

Fiona Swinhoe, 31, and Michael Swinhoe, 38, swiped two bags from the boot and back seat of a Maserati motor parked outside a house in Front Street, Whitburn.

But their actions on Friday, May 24, were picked up on CCTV and the criminals, of Collingwood Avenue, Sulgrave, Washington, were arrested.

The goods included suits and other high-cost clothing and a £1,000 drill belonging to the car’s owner and his partner’s son.

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Michael Swinhoe, 38, and Fiona Swinhoe, 31.

The Swinhoes escaped a jail term when they appeared for sentencing after a judge heard they had committed no further offences.

Each was jailed for 26 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay compensation at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Jonathan Hanratty said: “There’s little or no planning. It’s high valued goods of between £10,000 and £11,000.

“They’ve walked past and have removed the clothing from the boot while it was open.

Michael Swinhoe, 38.

“They have taken a bag from inside the car and a bag from the boot.

“They have taken a drill and some essential plumbing equipment as well as items of clothing.

“Around £8,000 of the items are believed to have been suits and clothing. The drill is valued at £1,000.”

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “The defendants are primarily concerned about a custodial sentence. There has been no further offending.”

Fiona Swinhoe, 31.

The court heard Michael Swinhoe is due to start work at Wearside car maker Nissan before Christmas.

He told the court he expected to make around £1,000 a week with overtime.

The court also heard it was unclear if the victims had been compensated by insurers.

District Judge Kathryn Meek told the defendants: “It’s aggravated because it’s high value and by your previous convictions.”

As well as the suspended sentences, the defendants must also undertake 30 days of rehabilitation work with the Probation Service and 19 sessions of the Thinking Skills programme.

The defendants, who pleaded guilty to theft from a car, were each ordered to pay compensation of £200 to the car’s owner £400 to the owner of the clothing.

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