Devon

Thief in disguise caught out by personalised number plate

Exeter Crown Court
Image caption Gary Redman was convicted of theft at Exeter Crown Court after stealing £295 worth of roofing battens

A thief in an elaborate disguise was caught because he failed to conceal his personalised number plate.

Gary Redman, 59, went to great lengths to hide his identity whilst stealing £295 worth of roofing battens from a builder's yard.

Redman, of Derrell Road, Paignton, was convicted of theft and ordered to pay £294.74 in compensation.

Speaking at at Exeter Crown Court, Judge David Evans described his defence in the case as "absurd".

The contractor used white sheets to cover his company name on his van, wore a woolly hat to conceal his bald head, removed his distinctive glasses and walked backwards to hide his face from CCTV at the South West Roofing depot in Paignton, Devon.

'Absurd'

All of his precautions were undone by his failure to conceal the number plate which bore the initials of his full name. When police traced him, he claimed someone else had committed the theft in a van identical to his, including the number plate.

He had been a customer at the company in question, but his account had been blocked a few days earlier for non-payment.

Manager Christopher Stacey recognised Redman from the CCTV images, despite his attempts to conceal his appearance.

Judge David Evans told Redman: "You have wasted an awful lot of time and money in taking this case before a jury.

"Your defence was absurd."

The judge also said he would have liked to have made Redman pay the costs of the trial, but recognised he was unable to do so because he still owes £3,600 of £4,500 in fines and costs from a Health and Safety prosecution in 2015.

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