Burglars hid from police in rafters of derelict building
THREE burglars lay in the rafters of an unsafe building which was "thick" with pigeon droppings to try to hide from police.
The three men had broken into the disused Swansea Boys and Girls Club on Berwick Terrace to steal lead.
They had only gathered flashing worth a couple of pounds when they heard police arrive and decided to hide.
The trio made their way to the attic and lay between the rafters of the filthy, derelict building, hoping to evade arrest.
The unsafe nature of the building meant officers could not go inside and police had to call for assistance from the fire brigade to bring ladders to help them get to them.
Ian Borton, aged 33, from Waun Wen Road in Mayhill, Darren Lee Strawbridge, aged 36, from Harrington Street, Swansea, and Wayne Anthony Strawbridge, aged 23, of High View in Mayhill, all admitted burglary.
Prosecutor Julie Sullivan told city magistrates the three were seen on CCTV on August 12 making their way into the building which had been secured with metal sheeting over the windows.
Police were called to go to the scene and when they went inside, found children playing football.
They directed the officers to the trio, telling them they were hiding above, but the officers could not find the three.
"The building was described as being in such a poor state that the walls were falling down and floorboards were missing," said Mrs Sullivan.
Fire crews arrived and erected ladders to allow police officers into the loft and roof area.
"The floor was thick with pigeon droppings and dirty. Inside the loft, the officers called out to the three defendants. They were lying still on their backs in the rafters," said Mrs Sullivan.
In their police interviews, the trio said they had come from the Job Centre and seen the window had already been forced open and they decided to go and collect lead from the roof.
They found some flashing had already been taken and other pieces were loose but continued to look around.
Darren Strawbridge said he had thrown one or two pieces onto the grass below, ready to collect, before police arrived.
Solicitors for the trio said the lead was of a very small value.
The three all have previous convictions but Darren Strawbridge and Borton had not offended since 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Steve Burnell, for Borton, said his client had missed an appointment at the job centre because of illness and his benefits had been halved to £41 a week.
He said the trio had decided to steal lead to boost their income.
Jon Tarrant, for the Strawbridges said the offences were opportunistic and Wayne Strawbridge's previous convictions had been committed when he was much younger and he had recently managed to stay out of trouble until this offence was committed.
The trio were each fined £100, told to pay £85 in costs and pay a £20 victim surcharge.