Notts: Thief who ‘lost everything’ due to drug addiction breaks into lorry in dead of night

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A Notts thief who ‘lost everything’ due to his amphetamine addiction narrowly escaped jail after breaking into a lorry and stealing three boxes of tools and garden knives in the dead of night.

Brian Proctor, 43, of Findern Court, Mansfield, appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Monday 1st June and pleaded guilty to stealing from a motor vehicle belonging to a Mansfield distribution company in April of this year.

Outlining the case for prosecution, Robert Carr told the court how Proctor had been spotted at around 2.45am acting suspiciously around the lorry which was parked in an industrial ground.

The staff member went over to the location to confront Proctor, where he ‘heard men’s voices in the bushes’ and ‘a van door suddenly slamming shut.’

Upon further inspection the staff member discovered Proctor and three other men parked outside the industrial ground in a hired van. The men denied taking anything and drove off.

After Proctor and the men had left the scene, the staff member found that a wire fence had been cut through and the lorry had been attacked, with three boxes of tools missing.

“Enquiries were made with the company that the van belonged to, and through this Proctor was traced.”

“A balaclava was also found in the van,” added Mr Carr.

Proctor’s defence solicitor told the court that the defendant had a drug dependency problem that had ‘cost him his business’.

“Proctor was taking amphetamines in order to work the 20 hour days that running his business required,” he said.

“Unfortunately, it cost him his business and also his family home. He lost everything and there was a point where he was only able to claim around 10p a week benefit.”

“At the time of the theft, he was at a really low ebb and in a desperate place.”

“However, since the offence, Proctor is looking forward to the future and has gone through a lengthy drug rehabilitation process in an attempt to become drug free.”

“He is hoping to start a new business soon and has taken every possible step to make a fresh start.”

“The lack of re-offending and the fact he has greatly reduced his drugs intake says it all.”

Magistrates said: “We take into account that you have made great progress, but this offence still crosses the custody threshold as it was both a planned and a sophisticated theft.”

Proctor was handed a 20 week prison sentence suspended for 12 weeks and ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation requirement of nine months.

He was also ordered to pay £150 in court costs.