Hospital thieves get suspended sentence

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TWO thieves who stole gas used in operations from a hospital have been given suspended jail terms.

Adam Charles Ridley, 24, of Gull Road, Wisbech, and Tom Storey, 20, of March Road, Wisbech, tried to give police the slip after their raid on a storage shed at St Edmund’s Hospital, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.

The burglary, which took place on May 8, saw Ridley and Storey take canisters of nitrous oxide from the hospital site in St Mary’s Square, Bury.

Lesla Small, prosecuting, told the court that a nurse spotted the pair on CCTV carrying what she said looked like ‘heavy items’ on their shoulders and alerted the police.

On arrival, a constable found that the storage shed containing the canisters had been forced open, with almost £500 of damage caused by the vandals.

When the officer inspected the hospital’s entrance area, he heard rustling in the bushes – when he approached, the two men sprang from the bushes and made their escape on foot.

The officer chased them and later found them standing near a vehicle, appearing to be out of breath.

When he searched the pair, the officer found a crowbar, black balaclavas, black gloves and rubber gloves.

John Clarke, in mitigation, said the pair had heard about the whereabouts of the gas at a party.

Following arrest, Ridley admitted to police that he had stolen from the storage shed the week before, causing further damage and expense to the hospital.

Mr Clarke added that the pair had sold the gas and used it themselves as a recreational drug.

Magistrate Lorraine Line sentenced both men to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

Ridley was also given a supervision requirement for one year and an unpaid work requirement of 40 hours. He was ordered to pay compensation of £200.

Storey must pay compensation of £150 as well as being given a one year supervision requirement and a specific activity requirement for 20 days. Both men admitted the offence.