South Shields man caught ‘looking through children’s play bags’ at Laygate Community School

A would-be thief was caught ‘looking through children’s play bags’ at a South Shields primary school.

Monday, 29th July 2019, 5:41 pm
Skidmore was spotted at Laygate Community School in South Shields. Picture: Google Streetview

Police officers spotted Paul Skidmore in the grounds of Laygate Community School on Wednesday and went to investigate, a court heard.

Skidmore, 38, of Beach Road, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced.

Groundskeeper left everything locked up

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said a groundskeeper at the school had been satisfied that everything was locked up that day before he went home.

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“At 9.30pm he saw a number of police officers with the school grounds.

“They had a male handcuffed.”

The school is currently closed for the summer holidays so there was no risk of him Skidmore encountering children or school staff, the court heard.

Police officers spot defendant in the school grounds

The court heard that police officers had been in the area responding to a previous incident, but had spotted Skidmore in the school grounds and gone to investigate.

The prosecutor added: “The defendant was in the grounds looking through what appeared to be children’s play bags.”

The court heard that Skidmore had been released from custody just a week before his arrest at the Laygate school.

His defence solicitor said that Skidmore needed help from probation in the community rather than being sent to prison.

Skidmore was given a 12 week jail sentence, suspended for a year.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £122.