Antique tile thief to pay back just £1 from ill-gotten gains

St Anne's at Bowden Hill, Lacock

St Anne's at Bowden Hill, Lacock

First published in Wiltshire

A roofer who stole valuable antique tiles from church roofs will have to pay back just £1 of the £33,000 profit he made from crime after the police failed to look after his property.

Joe Crossley, of Avon Road, Melksham, who admitted three thefts and asked for seven offences to be taken into consideration, had initially been ordered to hand over £490 from the value of his works van and mobile phone, which were both seized when he was arrested.

But when the 24-year-old was released from prison he found the vehicle, which had been stored by police in a depot, was a write-off and the phone had been lost by officers.

At an earlier hearing a judge at Swindon Crown Court gave Crossley six months to come up with the £490 by selling the items, or face another 14 days inside.

But that has now been found to be impossible, as the property which formed the basis of the valuation was now worthless.

“The vehicle, a works van, was being held in a compound in Pewsey,” Colin Meeke, told the court.

“When Mr Crossley went to collect it it was full of water and a write-off. He had to pay to have it removed.

“The mobile telephone was six months out of date and couldn’t be located in the police property store.”

He asked for the order to be changed so that the thief, who was not present for the hearing, would only have to pay a nominal £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

However, should he come into money in the future Crossley would still be liable for the £33,066 which was assessed as his profit from crime.

The roofer had used his skills to strip tiles from six churches across west and north Wiltshire so he could sell the masonry at knock down rates.

The first offences, in May last year, took place in Lacock when part of the roof of St Anne’s on Bowden Hill was taken.

In the following weeks St John the Baptist in Little Somerford and Egypt Farm, Seend, had thousands of pounds worth of tile stolen.

The following month the GradeII-listed St Leonards, in Keevil, was targeted twice as was St Mary’s, in Broughton Gifford.

The roofer was caught in Hilperton in July when his van was spotted and the police were called.

Comments (13)

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1:18pm Mon 31 Dec 12

wondering why says...

makes you wonder if the lunatics have taken over the asylum to quote the Fun Boy Three.
makes you wonder if the lunatics have taken over the asylum to quote the Fun Boy Three. wondering why
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Mon 31 Dec 12

commonasmuck says...

"If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is.
"If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is. commonasmuck
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Mon 31 Dec 12

€d says...

commonasmuck wrote:
"If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is.
Not that unlikely, he may inherit some money in the future.
[quote][p][bold]commonasmuck[/bold] wrote: "If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is.[/p][/quote]Not that unlikely, he may inherit some money in the future. €d
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Mrs Donnyfly says...

commonasmuck wrote:
"If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is.
I don't think our legal system is at fault here.
[quote][p][bold]commonasmuck[/bold] wrote: "If he comes into money in the future he will still be liable for the £33,066". Yea right, what a ------- joke our legal system is.[/p][/quote]I don't think our legal system is at fault here. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Mon 31 Dec 12

Him Indoors says...

And they say crime does not pay ??
And they say crime does not pay ?? Him Indoors
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Mon 31 Dec 12

moonrakin wurzel says...

erm...
Why wasn't the van sold immediately?
Phone lost in police property store?
No mention of how long he served and what sentence was?

lots of questions

What's wrong with making him work a day a week on community stuff to work off his supposed £30K "winnings"?

so many questions......
erm... Why wasn't the van sold immediately? Phone lost in police property store? No mention of how long he served and what sentence was? lots of questions What's wrong with making him work a day a week on community stuff to work off his supposed £30K "winnings"? so many questions...... moonrakin wurzel
  • Score: 0

8:58am Tue 1 Jan 13

blackstone says...

"the van full of water"????
Not much of a van then

Not much of a judge either
"the van full of water"???? Not much of a van then Not much of a judge either blackstone
  • Score: 0

9:42am Tue 1 Jan 13

blackstone says...

I bet the churches were full of water ,too

The damage caused,much more than £33,000
I assume the dealer who bought the tiles did so not having a clue that they were stolen
I bet the churches were full of water ,too The damage caused,much more than £33,000 I assume the dealer who bought the tiles did so not having a clue that they were stolen blackstone
  • Score: 0

10:04am Tue 1 Jan 13

€d says...

blackstone wrote:
"the van full of water"????
Not much of a van then

Not much of a judge either
The van and phone were valued at £490 total, as you say a pretty crap van and phone.
[quote][p][bold]blackstone[/bold] wrote: "the van full of water"???? Not much of a van then Not much of a judge either[/p][/quote]The van and phone were valued at £490 total, as you say a pretty crap van and phone. €d
  • Score: 0

11:06am Tue 1 Jan 13

beetawix says...

At least he is not comfortable in prison. It is difficult to understand why he should get an advantage due to a wet van when no consideration was given by him to the potential ruination and further expense of those roofless buildings.
At least he is not comfortable in prison. It is difficult to understand why he should get an advantage due to a wet van when no consideration was given by him to the potential ruination and further expense of those roofless buildings. beetawix
  • Score: 0

11:40am Tue 1 Jan 13

blackstone says...

Did somebody nick the roof off the van??
Did somebody nick the roof off the van?? blackstone
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Tue 1 Jan 13

melkshamwizard says...

reckon the judge had water on his brain,oops will i get arrested for saying that
reckon the judge had water on his brain,oops will i get arrested for saying that melkshamwizard
  • Score: 0

8:31pm Tue 1 Jan 13

moonrakin wurzel says...

melkshamwizard wrote:
reckon the judge had water on his brain,oops will i get arrested for saying that
Nah - Twitter works good for that though - so i'm told.
[quote][p][bold]melkshamwizard[/bold] wrote: reckon the judge had water on his brain,oops will i get arrested for saying that[/p][/quote]Nah - Twitter works good for that though - so i'm told. moonrakin wurzel
  • Score: 0

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