Thief is ordered to pay compensation

A HAILSHAM man who stole ramps from a van parked in Westham has been ordered to pay his victim £400 in compensation.

John Doe, of St Mary’s Avenue, appeared at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday (May 31) and pleaded guilty to theft from a motor vehicle.

The court heard 32-year-old Doe had been spotted by the owner of the ramps, used for driving cars on to other vehicles, at Westham Industrial Estate on January 16.

The owner saw Doe taking the ramps off his van before driving off with them.

He followed Doe down the road and was flashing his lights at him.

The victim said he was unable to keep up with Doe due to the speed he was travelling at but he took down his registration number and reported the theft to the police.

Police spotted Doe’s van shortly afterwards at Station Road in Hailsham and pulled it over.

When questioned Doe confirmed he was the driver of the van and had been to Westham Industrial Estate but denied taking the ramps.

Scrap metal was found on the van but the ramps, worth £800 according to the owner, were never recovered.

Tim Stirmey, defending, told magistrates the offence was an ‘opportunistic theft’ committed when Doe was ‘down on his luck’.

Mr Stirmey said, “He was having trouble with his marriage at the time and he wasn’t living at home.

“That has now resolved itself and he is back at the family home.”

Mr Stirmey disputed the ramps were worth £800 and said internet research had shown they were worth much less.

Magistrates imposed a two-year conditional discharge and ordered Doe to pay £400 in compensation and £200 in costs.