Stolen gnomes used to revamp garden

Law and order
Law and order

A MAN used gnomes stolen from neighbours to improve the garden of his parents - who he thought so much of he had ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ tattoed on his neck.

James Searson, 20, took a bird table and other items after his family were warned to improve the grounds of their home on Myrtle Close, Shirebrook, or face eviction.

Chesterfield magistrates heard Searson’s parents were unwell – his father with diabetes and his mother brittle bone disease – and were distressed by the Bolsover District Council notice.

Melanie Hoffman, for Searson, said he set about tidying the garden with help from friends.

“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.

Most items - also including a bench, planters, solar lights, hanging baskets and wind chimes - were taken from nine nearby properties on Peartree Drive, Shirebrook, and Highfield Avenue and Albine Road, Langwith Junction.

When a ‘traveller’ came to remove old bicycles and washing machines from Searson’s garden he was given other items stolen from local dwellings in return.

“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.

The court heard police went to Searson’s home as clearance work was ongoing and a search found stolen items.

Searson admitted theft offences on August 13,23 and 28 plus six further charges of receiving stolen items.

He had no previous convictions and was ordered to do 60 hours unpaid work, with £85 costs.