TWO men were spotted in a garden trying to break into a safe full of cash stolen from a library just hours earlier.
Jack Westrop was seen in his Swallownest garden alongside Stephen Flinders trying to break into the safe, taken in a raid at Aston Library six hours earlier.
Police were called to Westrop’s address on Wharton Avenue at 10am on October 14, 2019, to reports of men trying to break into a safe.
They saw two men standing next to it, who ran into the house and shut the door when they saw the police, prosecutor Mr Ben Thomas told Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday.
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Westrop and Flinders, who were inside, were both arrested.
The library was also used as a council hub where people could manage benefit claims or pay council tax and as a result a “significant amount” of money had been stored there.
Mr Thomas said the safe had been taken from a part of the library which was not accessible by the public.
The safe, which contained hundreds of pounds, was later returned to the library, Mr Thomas said.
Flinders told police he had only gone to Westrop’s to get more rolling papers.
Westrop claimed he had been at home when three other men turned up and asked to use his tools to get into the safe.
He said he had let them but had not got involved.
Flinders (42), of Mason Avenue, Swallownest, and Westrop (19) both admitted handling stolen goods.
Flinders has 21 convictions for 47 previous offences, including theft, robbery and burglary.
Mr Richard Adams, mitigating for Flinders, said his client accepted he had been at the address while others were working on the safe.
Flinders was given an 18-month community order which included 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and a four-month curfew.
Westrop was given a 12-month community order which included 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and 80 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Rachael Harrison said: “Both of you have come perilously close to going to prison.
“May I make myself clear, that if you choose to breach these orders you should assume you will go to custody.”
Flinders and Westrop both denied burglary and those pleas were accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Not guilty verdicts were returned.