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Gulf war veteran jailed for tools theft

PUBLISHED: 13:18 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:42 12 July 2010

A Gulf War veteran who stole tools while working on a building project at a primary school near Eye was

yesterday jailed for six months.

John Britchford, 38, was also involved in handling computer equipment stolen from the same

school.

A Gulf War veteran who stole tools while working on a building project at a primary school near Eye was

last week jailed for six months.

John Britchford, 38, was also involved in handling computer equipment stolen from the same

school.

Britchford, of Ashfield Court, Terrington St Clement, near King's Lynn, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court to be sentenced.

Prosecutor Godfried Duah said Britchford was in possession of the alarm code when a power drill, attachments and a quantity of screws were taken from a site at Mellis Primary School last December.

The equipment, belonging to Barnes Construction Ltd, was valued at £300. Britchford had been employed as a general labourer and forklift driver.

Because he had the access code and was normally the last person to lock up, suspicion almost immediately fell on Britchford and after being arrested the stolen items were recovered from his home.

Mr Duah said that also recovered was a quantity of computer equipment worth £1710 and which had been stolen by someone else from the offices of the headteacher and secretary at Mellis Primary School some time in January.

When interviewed, Britchford said the computer equipment had been given to him.

Britchford, who had been subject to a suspended prison sentence and a conditional discharge for other matters when he committed the offences, was convicted of theft and handling stolen goods by West Suffolk magistrates.

Nicholas Cotter, for Britchford, said he served in the first Gulf War and for most of his life stayed out of trouble, working hard and providing for his family. "It seems as though he fell down a slippery slope over a very short period of time" he said.

Britchford had not been aware the computer equipment, all of which has been returned, came from the school. The items stolen from his former employer had also been returned intact.

Recorder Andrew Marsden told Britchford that a prison term was the only appropriate way of dealing with him.

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