Fiddler on the roof

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A CHESTERFIELD man looked outside after midnight to find a neighbour on his porch roof removing lead flashing.

Paul Helliwell had only just gone to bed when he heard noises at the front of his home in Old Hall Road, Brampton.

“He looked out and saw someone looking at his house and another male crouched below his window on top of a porch,” prosecutor Helen Griffiths told town magistrates.

“He shouted: ‘What are you doing?’. The man calmly climbed down and they both left.”

Stephen Cooke had left a knife on the roof which he had used to prise flashing away from the wall. Mr Helliwell called police and gave them a description of the pair.

They were located soon afterwards and Cooke, 35, was found to be carrying a screwdriver, said Mrs Griffiths.

She added: “He said he saw lead flashing and decided to get a kitchen knife and take the lead from the canopy and weigh it in for cash.”

Cooke, of Old Hall Road, admitted attempted theft on April 10. He asked for theft of £60 worth of lead from another property belonging to Sean Meades to be considered.

The court heard that he had previous convictions for burglary.

He was given an eight-week jail term, suspended for a year, a one-year probation supervision order, including a six-month drug rehabilitation programme, and he must pay £100 compensation to Mr Helliwell and £60 to Mr Meades, with £45 costs.

“He had been out of trouble for some time and he regrets both offences,” said Katie Fowkes, for Cooke, unemployed.

“He had a drug addiction for approaxiamately ten years and he sought help and was given medication. He suffered from deep vein thrombosis and he is still on medication for pancreatitis.”

Ms Fowkes added: “He lives with his mother who has long-term mental health issues and he helps to care for her.”