Self-employed Owen Thomas, 42, was alerted by neighbours who saw a man making off with £150 of copper piping from a shed at his home in Alstone Avenue.Hurrah!
The intruder, a 29-year-old from the town, came back for more. A neighbour noted his car registration details and police went to his house, found the piping and arrested him.
But now comes the terrible story of how he was given a pat on the head and a fiver out of the poor box and sent on his way by some ivory-tower-dwelling soft liberal wuss, I guess?
Well, no. But only because the police decided to just cut out the middleman:
But Mr Thomas was later annoyed to hear the thief had been released with nothing more than a caution.Whoops!
Officers later said the man had been cautioned as it was his first offence.Actually, it was two offences, as the aggrieved owner points out:
Mr Thomas said: "Apparently it gets logged by the police under one offence. But he came back twice so in my book that is two offences. Metal thefts are a big problem at the moment, but there is not much to deter people from doing it if they know they will just get let off."Well, indeed! And if they don’t even get as far as the magistrates in the first place….
Last month police said there had been a spate of metal thefts in the town and pledged to work with scrap dealers to reduce the number of incidents.Those ‘individual circumstances’ seemingly being ‘We just can’t be arsed’…
But police said the individual circumstances of the case meant a caution was the most appropriate course of action.
Spokeswoman Alexa Collicott said: "The offender made a full admission of the offence at the earliest possible opportunity. He had no previous convictions for theft and was on this occasion eligible for a formal caution. The stolen items were recovered and arrangements have been made to return them to the victim."