A BUSINESSMAN has been jailed for handling £14,500 worth of scaffolding equipment which has been “freshly stolen” from a firm’s Penrith site.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how that scaffolding company’s compound on the town’s Gilwilly industrial estate was entered by unknown intruders early on January 25 of 2017. High value scaffolding poles and brackets were loaded on to the back of a wagon which was then driven away at 4-35am.
Police learned the vehicle was fitted with a tracker, and followed its progress as it arrived at the Teesside business premises of 32-year-old Shaun Braithwaite at 6-38am.
At around that time, Braithwaite bought the scaffolding – legitimately, he claimed – for £3,000 cash from two unknown men who delivered the loot after he had received a 6-30am phone call.
Braithwaite went on to admit handling stolen goods but gave evidence in court after the prosecution disputed his claims he knew nothing about the Penrith burglary.
Braithwaite – a man of previous good character – claimed he was “absolutely devastated” to learn the property he bought had been pinched. “There is no way on earth I knew it was stolen,” he said. “I’ve got a good name in the scaffolding industry. I wouldn’t jeopardise that.”
But after hearing evidence, Judge Peter Davies dismissed the claims of Braithwaite, of Westbourne Grove, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, concluding the defendant had acted as a “fence”, waiting to receive the “freshly stolen” property.
Judge Davies jailed Braithwaite for two years for what he called a “deliberate act of dishonesty, impacting on the local community”.