Teenager is spared jail over cable theft

A Shrewsbury teenager involved in the theft of a power cable which almost destroyed Shropshire’s new £1.3 million mobile MRI scanner, has been spared immediate detention.

The 17-year-old, along with two other men, stole 15 metres of cable from the Nuffield Hospital in Shrewsbury in May to sell for scrap. The other two men have already been jailed for their part in the theft.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday the teenager, who had admitted theft, was given a 12 months Youth Rehabilitation Order which involves intensive supervision and surveillance.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also placed on a two-month electronically monitored curfew between 7pm and 7am and must complete 100 hours unpaid work.

Judge Peter Barrie told the youth he had played a full part in an “extremely serious offence” and had not been lured into the theft by his co-accused and, at the time, was on licence from a previous period of detention.

“However, I am persuaded by a probation report that there is a case to give you one last chance and deal with you in an exceptional way,” he said.

At an earlier hearing Ricky Filmer, 23, of New Park Road, Shrewsbury, was jailed for 16 months and Eric Bennett, 24, of Lime Grove, Oswestry, for 15 months, after they admitted stealing the cable.

Mr Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said the theft was discovered when police found the length of cable in the back of Bennett’s Citreon Saxo van – along with the youth – after it was seen driving ‘erratically’ through Shrewsbury town centre.

Filmer had been seen getting out of the van and walking away minutes earlier.

Mr Jones said it was the early hours of May 12, just hours after the MRI scanner had been delivered.

Also in the van was a hacksaw, gloves and a Tesco receipt for the purchase of a hacksaw on May 5.

He said patients were forced to wait for scans and hospital bosses faced a £9,000 repair bill.

“It was only by good fortune power was restored in time to prevent the machine being destroyed,” he said.

Mr Brendan Reedy, for the youth, said he suffered a difficult background and had issues with alcohol and other substances.