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Court hears of Keighley woman's dismay as thief takes her stone forecourt
7:45pm Tuesday 27th August 2013 in News
A woman householder watched in dismay as a white Transit van drove off with her York stone forecourt in the back, Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court heard today.
But Maria Mutarelli was able to describe the van, with its distinctive blue stripe, to the police and it was stopped soon afterwards with her 12 paving slabs on board.
One had the end cut off and officers matched it, jigsaw like, to the space filled by the uprooted slab area at her home on Kendal Street, Keighley.
James Molloy, 38, of Haincliffe Road, Spring Bank, Keighley, denied theft of the slabs, at 6.53am on November 2 last year, and was convicted after a trial on August 2.
Molloy, who was driving the van when it was stopped by the police, said they were his slabs, come by honestly.
His co-accused, Paul Guy, 36, of West Lane, Keighley, was convicted of the same offence.
He has since suffered a leg injury and will be sentenced on September 6, after magistrates were told he was attending hospital today.
Keith Blackwell, Molloy’s solicitor, said his client’s van was seized by the police and had been scrapped.
“It was a cheap and cheerful vehicle and it will be razor blades and tin cans now,” he told the court.
Mr Blackwell said Molloy was a skilled plasterer who had spent years employed in the building trade but was now too ill to work.
He was a former drug addict but was now free from illegal drugs.
Molloy was sentenced to an 18-month community order, with supervision and a nine-month Drug Rehabilitation Requirement.
He must pay £370 court costs.