Pair who sold stolen cars spared prison

A PAIR of hapless criminals who sold stolen vehicles to an Ilkeston scrapyard, have walked free from court.

Drug addicts Scott Waltho, 33, and Martin Spencer, 36, were described by a judge at Nottingham Crown Court on Tuesday as ‘mugs’ who were ‘absolutely used’ by the thieves who had stolen the Ford Escort van and Vauxhall Astra.

Spencer was also convicted of shoplifting offences from two shops in Ilkeston and both were convicted of drugs offences.

Despite the number of offences, Judge Andrew Hamilton handed them both two-year community orders.

“Getting involved in drugs means you have to commit crime to fund your habit,” he said.

“That means you go about stealing people’s property, whether that’s shoplifting or handling stolen cars.”

He added: “I am prepared to take a risk in both of your cases.

“If you breach this order you will come back and you will be going to prison.”

Ian Way, prosecuting, told the court that the Escort stolen in St Mary’s Street was sold to Ward’s Recycling for £139.50 on April 15 2011.

The Astra, stolen from Station Road, was sold for £157.50 the following day.

The court heard that owner Martin Kendrick was ‘devastated’ by the theft, as it was his only means of getting to work.

Waltho and Spencer were identified seeling the vehicles by CCTV at Ward’s and Spencer even used his own name.

Judge Hamilton said: “They were hot when you got them because they had not long been stolen.

“The Escort van had some valuable equipment in it but that seems to have disappeared. Someone brought that to you and said ‘could you get rid of it’.

“He found a couple of mugs like you to weigh them in.”

When they were arrested, Waltho was in possession of a small amount of cannabis, while Spencer had on him a piece of foil with a trace of heroin on it.

The court heard that Waltho’s home in Milton Street, Cotmanhay, was raided by police on April 20.

They found a set of scales in his living room and 18 wraps of heroin worth £90.

During another drugs warrant on August 19, Waltho dropped a £5 wrap of heroin from his bedroom window.

Police said they found him with his hands down his trousers looking ‘panicky’. When he was strip-searched a wrap of heroin fell from between his buttocks.

Adrian Reynolds, representing Waltho, said his client was now clean of drugs for the first time in years after spending the past five months in custody.

While on conditional discharge, Spencer, of Critchley Street, was spotted on CCTV filling a bag with items from Co-op in Summerfields Way on September 19.

On December 12 he was again caught stealing, this time from Checkley’s off licence in Little Hallam Hill, where he made off with £42 of goods.

Christopher Gabbitas, for Spencer, said he would welcome unpaid work ‘to occupy his time and get him back into full time employment’.

Judge Hamilton also ordered both men, who admitted all the charges, to do 120 hours each of unpaid work and attend a drug rehabilitation programme for 18 months.