Locked up for plaques sale

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A TEENAGER has been locked up for selling memorial plaques stolen from a churchyard for scrap.

A court heard how Jake Telford was given £112.50 for some of the 169 plaques stolen from St Mary’s Church in Mirfield in September.

At the same time as Dewsbury magistrates were considering what to do with 17-year-old Telford, Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney was raising the issue of metal thefts in Parliament. Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The theft of metal, particularly from war memorials, is an absolutely sickening and disgusting crime.”

He said the government was reviewing regulations for the scrap metal trade

On Wednesday, magistrates heard Telford, of Lowwood Lane, Birstall, was given a red bucket full of the brass plaques to weigh in at Eric France scrap metal merchants in Wakefield.

Carla Harris, prosecuting, said Telford was identified on CCTV footage when scrap yard staff heard about the plaque thefts.

Telford, who admitted handling stolen goods, can only be named after Reporter journalists challenged reporting restrictions. As a juvenile in youth court he had automatic anonymity, but magistrates agreed to our application and waived his rights.

David Ward, mitigating, said Telford only found out later that the scrap metal was made up of stolen memorial plaques. When arrested, he told police he wanted to “strangle” the people who gave him the plaques to sell.

Telford also admitted a separate count of burglary in Goole and was found guilty of another burglary after a trial last month. On that occasion he stole a fire extinguisher from Fieldhead School in Batley and set it off in the school grounds. He will be locked up for 18 months for the three offences and was also made the subject of a four year anti-social behaviour order.

As he was taken to the cells, he swore at magistrates and said: “Well quite frankly you can shove your sentence.”