Night shift worker caught scrap thief

A MAN detained a thief at his Codnor home after catching him stealing property from the garden, a court has heard.

Night shift worker Darrian Fearn had just got up at 1pm when he saw Paul Fretwell and another man walking down his driveway in Heanor Road.

“They knocked on the door and he didn’t want to answer it as he had just got out of bed.

“He then saw the defendant pick up a satellite dish and motor from the rear garden and take it to a Ford Transit tipper,” prosecutor Mike Treharne told Chesterfield magistrates.

He added: “The victim ran after the defendant and detained him and took him back to his property and rang police.”

Fretwell, 35, was arrested when police arrived. The Ripley man said he was collecting scrap in the area.

The court was told how he knocked on the door and, when there was no reply, he decided to take the dish.

“Times are hard in terms of employment and scrapping is a blight at the moment.

“This is a typical example of someone seeing something they fancy and stealing it,” said Mr Treharne.

Fretwell, unemployed, of Peartree Avenue, Ripley, admitted the January 31 theft. He had previous convictions for drugs, damage and dishonesty the Chesterfield magistrates heard..

Fretwell said nothing to the court about the offence and was fined £81, with £85 costs.

Superintendent Debbie Matthews, of Derbyshire police’s Operational Support department, was in charge of Operation Calanthia, an initiative aimed at cutting metal thefts in Derbyshire. She said after the case scrap metal crimes have continued to be a problem in the area.

She said: “Although the operation has now come to an end, we will continue to do everything we can to stamp out metal thefts in Derbyshire. Metal may well be in demand but stealing is a crime and in many cases, offenders cause extreme damage to buildings and put themselves and others in danger by taking metal from roofs, sub-stations and railway lines.”