Belfast Telegraph

Thief’s bid to pay for copper he stole fails to save him from jail

By Michael Donnelly

A father-of-four was jailed yesterday despite his efforts at restitution and a promise of more money to cover the £11,000 worth of copper wire he stole from a former employer.

Belfast Recorder David McFarland told David Frampton (35) it was no good in the courts passing deterrent sentences, only to suspend them, as those convicted like him of such crimes must learn they will go to jail.

The leading Crown Court judge also told Frampton, with 55 previous convictions, "the courts do not send out messages to thieves that if you pay back the money all is forgiven".

Earlier Judge McFarland said the case was aggravated by Frampton's breach of trust towards his former employer.

Defence lawyer Michael Boyd for Frampton, of Silverstream Road, Belfast, had argued that a "more constructive way" than simply jailing him, would be to allow Frampton to put something back into the community and also repay his ex-employer.

The lawyer said the £1,500 handed into court was even more than Frampton gained from the theft. Mr Boyd said Frampton's dual demons of drug and gambling addiction were never far from the surface and because of them he ended up in debt.

Frampton, he added, was under a "significant amount of pressure" to commit the theft.

Prosecutor Briege Gilmore said that using his knowledge and codes worked by his former haulage employers, Frampton took a trailer load of copper wire from Belfast docks. Although the trailer was returned, when the consignment was delivered the load was short by two tons, valued at over £11,000.

Ms Gilmore said that Frampton, easily identified by staff who knew him and from CCTV, made full admissions to police. He told detectives that because of the £9,000 debt he owed for cocaine and a car, he felt "coerced" into taking part in the theft.

The lawyer added that although Frampton also admitted he knew he would be caught, he later received £4,000 for his role, £1,000 of which he kept himself while the remaining £3,000 went to pay off his debt.

Frampton - who admitted the theft of the copper wire, taking a Daff lorry and driving without insurance on April 22 last year - was handed an 18-month sentence, with eight months in custody and the remainder on licenced parole.

Belfast Telegraph

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