Stanton man stole power tools from manor

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Court report
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A man has appeared in court after breaking into an empty mansion, stealing power tools and selling them through Facebook.

Richard Ballard, 31, of Upthorpe Road, Stanton, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Prosecuting, Ian Devine said Ballard had used a screwdriver to gain access to Stanton Manor, a large detached house sitting in two acres of land.

The property had been bought by the father of the current owner, who wanted to fix it up and live there through his retirement.

But sadly he passed away and the building had been left empty for a number of years.

Mr Devine said the first break-in occurred between July 14 and 16, the second between August 4 and 7 and the third between August 8 and 11.

“Back in July of this year the property was entered and Mr Ballard was arrested and cautioned,” he said.

“Since then it has been entered on a number of occasions.

“The defendant goes to the property, unscrews the boarding, takes what he needs, usually power tools, and then leaves.

“Mr Ballard came to the attention of the police for the previous caution but also because he was advertising the items for sale on Facebook.”

Mr Devine said that Ballard had advertised a belt sander on the social media site for £15, along with another power tool.

He said, when arrested, Ballard made a full admission to the thefts.

In mitigation, Lyndon Davies said Ballard stole the items to make money to pay bills and to feed his family.

“He has done this out of financial desperation,” he said

“He was previously a hard working man. He was in the Army for eight years and had fallen on hard times.”

Mr Davies said although police had little evidence to link him to the crime when he was arrested, he confessed to the crimes straight away.

Magistrates ordered an all options report to be produced before sentencing.

Ballard is due to be sentenced at Bury Magistrates on September 9.