Copper pipe thieves caused £4,000 damage to house
A MAN who caused more than £4,000 of damage by stealing copper piping from an empty house has narrowly avoided jail.
Jamie Davies, 23, admitted a charge of burglary at Swansea Crown Court.
But he said he could not remember the incident because he was high on drugs.
The court was told Davies went to the house in Caernarvon Way, Bonymaen with another unknown man after the pair met at a party on May 18.
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The man told Davies, of Myrddin Road, Bonymaen, he knew of an empty house and the pair decided to go to strip it of copper.
The central heating unit was taken, along with the copper piping.
Extensive water damage was caused throughout the house, including ceilings which had collapsed.
Swansea Crown Court was told former resident Anne-Marie Cable had moved out of the property the day before.
She had removed most of her possessions but left carpets valued at £1,000, which she had planned to return to collect.
Brian Simpson, prosecuting at Swansea Crown Court, said: "The house was burgled overnight and she was contacted by police.
"She returned to the property and found the back door had been forced and there was flooding," said Mr Simpson.
Swansea Council said the damage to their heating system and the missing piping totalled £3,110. Blood was found on the stairway which was matched to Davies.
Mr Simpson said: "At the time, any spare cash he had, he spent on cocaine.
"He didn't remember what had happened until the male came to the house the morning after and gave him £50, which was his share of the profits," he added.
Davies told the police he spent his share on cocaine.
Giles Hayes, appearing for Davies, said: "He's a young man who has a number of personal difficulties which it seems he is struggling to overcome, but he is trying to.
"The pre-sentence report recommends a community order and supervision but it's a case, I think, where unpaid work would be something that's at the forefront of the probation service's thoughts, but given his mental health issues at this time, it doesn't seem he could be classed as fit," added Mr Hayes.
Before handing him an eight- month sentence, suspended for two years, Judge Keith Thomas said metal thefts would always be treated as a serious matter by the courts.
"Thefts of metal in circum- stances such as these are serious and prevalent offences," he warned.
"The courts are determined to make it clear that they are not regarded as some sort of petty offending.
"This is a serious offence," added the judge.