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28th Jun, 2022

Man found guilty of MoT garage burglary

A BURGLAR’S explanation for what he was doing with a ladder outside an MoT garage in the middle of the night was rejected by a jury in less than three-quarters of an hour.

Simon Edwards, 54, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the attempted burglary of the Car4U premises in Paynes Lane, Rugby, in April 2019.

He claimed he was looking for a discarded tractor tyre to use for a fitness programme, and was wearing gloves and using a ladder he had found there to help him get through bracken.

But the jury took just 43 minutes to dismiss his tale and find Edwards, of The Stour, Daventry, guilty.

Prosecutor Alex Pritchard-Jones said that Car4U operates as an MoT and servicing garage, and at 4.16 in the morning on April 5, 2019 an alarm was activated at the premises.

The owner was alerted by the alarm company, and two police officers also headed to the scene to investigate why the alarm had gone off.

They saw Edwards near the premises, and he tried to make off, but was stopped and arrested.

Although that was captured by the officer’s body camera, there was a dispute over what Edwards said to the officer, but Mr Pritchard-Jones told the jury: “We say he said ‘I was trying to get into the place, and I failed.’”

A window accessed from the roof had been broken, and the owner said someone must have got inside to trigger the alarm.

Edwards was wearing gloves, and two ladders were found nearby, and Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “The Crown say Mr Edwards is guilty of attempted burglary. He was there at half past four in the morning and was trying to get into Car4U.”

But Edwards claimed he had driven to the area and parked in the nearby Jewson’s car park to look for a discarded tractor tyre to use to help get himself fit.

He said he was searching waste land, believing that if he took a tyre from there he would not be committing any offence.

He said he returned to his car to get his gloves because there was a lot of bracken on the waste land, and saw a ladder, so picked it up to use to help him get through the bracken.

Edwards said he had not been up onto the roof and had not smashed the window, claiming he was ‘too big’ to scale the ladder, which he said he could not have fitted in his car.

He said he had not told the officer he was trying to get into the building, and that what he had said was: “I was trying to get to the back of the building, but failed.”

And his solicitor Nick Devine put to the jury: “He is a man in poor health. The officer in the case saw the window, and he saw Mr Edwards.

“He confessed that in his view Simon Edwards could not have got through that window because of his size and physique.

“Even if he could have got through that window, given his condition, he’s supposed to have scaled the wall of the premises, got onto the roof and would then have had to heave the ladder onto the roof.

“He carts it over the roof, smashes the window, lowers the ladder and goes in and has a look round and climbs back out and pulls the ladder back up, carries it across the roof and lowers it down to climb down.

“He’s supposed to have done all that in his physical condition. That is utterly impossible,” argued Mr Devine.

And he pointed out that there were also two other men in the area at the time who returned to their car while the police were there and were allowed to leave.

“Can you as a jury rule these two people out as being the possible offenders?” he asked. “Someone had to have gone in, and that could not have been Mr Edwards.”

But the jury rejected the suggestion that Edwards had not been involved in the attempted burglary – and he was granted bail for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him.

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