It's a fair cop! £11k of stolen cable discovered
A SCRAP merchant was found with more than £11,000 of stolen copper cable in his premises, a court heard.
Gareth Price, aged 30, of Gendros Avenue East in Gendros, had rented a unit at Penplas Farm in Penplas for his scrap metal business.
During his sentencing at Swansea Crown Court he accepted he had allowed those premises to be used by others who were dealing in stolen metal and he pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
Nearby, police found a field which had been used as a "burn site" where the piping was set on fire so that the outer casing would melt, leaving the copper which could then be sold on.
They searched Price's property and inside found three large wheels of cable from BT. Some had already been burned and some had been cut into smaller pieces.
Inside, the also found a 4x4 vehicle with no registration plates which had copper inside and a Transit van with cable in the back.
Officers also found a petrol saw which had been reported stolen from a plant hire firm in 2008. He admitted a second charge of handling stolen goods in relation to this.
Price has a number of convictions including one for handling.
Ian Wright, representing Price, asked Judge Keith Thomas to consider suspending any sentence.
He said his client had battled alcohol addiction but said he was now motivated to address his problems and wanted help to do so.
"He acknowledges he is in a difficult position and the he can have no real complaint if he loses his liberty," said Mr Wright.
"He recognises because of his own stupidity he is putting himself on the brink," he added.
Judge Keith Thomas, sitting at Swansea Crown Court, said metal theft was a big issue in this area.
"This is a substantial problem to the courts in recent years. The price of copper on the scrap market is rising on a substantial basis and therefore thieves and other dishonest people in the community are attempting to remove cabling, some of which is still attached to electrical appliances, both in the public and private sectors in order to obtain substantial profits," he said.
"This was a substantial commercial organisation but I accept your role was to facilitate it by providing the premises," he said, before imposing a 12-month term, suspended for 18 months.
He was also told to complete 200 hours of unpaid work. Price was made subject to an alcohol treatment programme.