Copper Thief Told: "Turn Your Life Around"

A court's been told a thief who broke into a water pumping station in Bedfordshire to steal copper cable, caused £220,000 damage and flooding to a road which led to two collisions.

Aaron Davidson, 21 was said to have given no thought to the consequences, as he was desperate for money to buy drugs.

Davidson, of Farriers Way, Houghton Regis pleaded guilty to burglary at the Elstow pumping station on the A421 in Bedford in late August last year.

He was told by a Judge at Luton Crown Court on Friday that instead of going to jail he was being given a last chance to turn his life around.

Prosecutor Ben Gumpert said one purpose of the station was to prevent flooding but on Aug 29 there were two collisions on the A421 where the road was flooded.

"An engineer thought there must have been a malfunction at the station and discovered it had been broken into, copper cabling had been stolen and the power cut.

This led to very significant cost to the public. Temporary pumping units had to be installed at a cost of £22,000 and repairs to the pumping station cost £200,000. The value of the cable was £500."

Davidson's fingerprint was found inside but he claimed he had only been squatting there and the damage had been done before he got there. But he pleaded guilty when the case came to court.

Michael Lavers , defending said: "He was so focused on acquiring something to sell to feed his drug habit that he gave no thought to the wider consequences of his actions.

He is now in a stable relationship, with a baby due and has a job to start. He feels this is the last chance to turn his life around."

Judge Phiip Bartle QC said: "While I am prepared to accept you did not intend the devastating consequences, your reckless behaviour cost hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

But after much hesitation I am prepared to give you a chance. If you do not take it the consequences will be severe."

He gave Davidson a twelve month prison sentence suspended for a year with supervision and a drug rehabilitation order, and £350 costs.

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