Nappy cream thieves hit rock ‘bottom’

TWO thieves made a rash decision when they were caught red-handed with £14,000 worth of stolen nappy cream but a judge said he could not get to the bottom of why a teenager was involved.

Paul Wood (18) and Jeffrey Hepburn (52) took part in an industrial estate lorry heist, but “failed to get away with the booty”.

Wood, of Bodmin Crescent, Middleton, Leeds, admitted theft from a motor vehicle, and Hepburn, of Colenso Mount, Beeston, Leeds, admitted driving with no insurance, driving without a licence, and theft from a motor vehicle.

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The pair appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday where His Honour Judge Graham Robinson found a sore point with the police investigation

Mr Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said the incident occurred on November 26 when an articulated lorry driven over from France was parked up on Hellaby Industrial Estate.

He said: “The Romanian driver was woken at 1.45am from motion coming from the rear of the vehicle. 

“He looked out into the wing mirror and could see there were two men loading items from the back of the lorry into a Ford Transit van parked alongside.

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“As the Ford travelled away from his lorry he alerted a nearby security guard who then phoned the police.”

The driver told police two pallets of E45 cream had been stolen from the vehicle which cost a total of £14,000. 

Mr Fitch said: “Officers attended the area and at 2.20am saw the Ford Transit van coming towards them with no lights on, so they turned their vehicle around to follow it. 

“The car pulled in between two other heavy goods vehicles.”

Wood got out of the front passenger side and tried to flee, but was caught, police saw no one else in the vehicle or in the area.

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“But while they were dealing with Wood, Hepburn appeared walking down the pavements waving to lorry drivers as they went past, he appeared to be drunk and unsteady on his feet. 

“Officers asked him what he was doing in that area and he said he had been with a lorry driver in a club round the corner.

“Officers said there was no club in the area and he was arrested on suspicion of being involved in the theft.”

At the station Hepburn tested positive for cocaine and heroin, and Wood tested positive for cocaine.

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Hepburn fully admitted being involved in the theft said he had gone there to pay off a drug debt.

Wood made no comment but the transit van was traced to an address where he lived. 

Ms Rachel Harrison for Hepburn, said since being released from his last sentence in 2011 he had been living rough living with friends, drinking and taking drugs.

He said he became involved in the theft after being given some heroin and told he had to do some driving for it in return

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She said he was told where to go by someone sat in the front seat, believed there were more people in the back, and did not know his co-accused

Judge Robinson heavily criticised the police investigation and said he had been given no evidence as to the value of the pallets.

Judge Robinson said: “There’s a real absence of information, the driver said £14,000, I don’t know if that’s wholesale, retail, or ex-works. 

“What I do know is that there was no loss to anyone - you didn’t get away with the booty.”

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Career criminal Hepburn, who had 47 convictions for 106 offences 63 of those for theft, was given a 12 month community order with a drug rehabilitation requirement.

Judge Robinson said to Wood, a first-time offender, he could not get to the bottom of how he became involved in the crime.

Wood was given a 12-month community order, both were fined £60 victim surcharge.

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