Stolen garden ornaments used to spruce up home

A SHIREBROOK man revamped the family garden with items stolen from nine local properties after a council ordered a clean-up operation.

A bird table, bench, planters, garden gnomes, solar lights, hanging baskets and wind chimes found their way into James Searson’s new-look garden.

Most items had been stolen from the gardens of retired villagers on Peartree Drive, Shirebrook, and Highfield Avenue and Albine Road, Langwith Junction.

“Clearance work was going on at the defendant’s home and police went there and a search recovered various stolen items,” Angela Hadfield, prosecuting, told Chesterfield magistrates last Wednesday.

Melanie Hoffman, for Searson, said the family had been warned by Bolsover District Council to improve the grounds of their property or face eviction.

His parents were unwell - his father had diabetes and his mother brittle bone disease - and were distressed by the council notice.

Ms Hoffman said Searson (20) thought so much about his parents he had “mum” and “dad” tattooed on his neck - and he set about tidying up the garden with help from his pals.

“He was walking around and noticed items in other gardens. He took a bird table, thinking he could put it in the garden and improve its appearance for the council to notice.

“He also took three buckets of gravel from an empty property and placed it in his garden,” said Ms Hoffman.

Searson, of Myrtle Close, Shirebrook, admitted theft offences on 13rd, 23rd and 28th August.

He further admitted six charges of receiving stolen items between 23rd August and 2nd September.

Ms Hoffman said that old bicycles and washing machines were among items he left out for a scrap dealer to collect.

A “traveller” came to remove them and, in return, he was given other items which had been stolen from gardens in the area.

“He didn’t question where they came from. He has expressed great remorse and says he hadn’t thought about how people might have felt when their property went missing,” added Ms Hoffman.

Searson, who had no previous convictions, was ordered to do 60 hours’ unpaid work, with £85 costs.