Man tried to steal from ex­plo­sion site

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH - STU­ART GREER

AMAN has ad­mit­ted at­tempt­ing to steal from the site of the Bosley mill dis­as­ter days be­fore the first an­niver­sary.

Lee Brian John­stone, 32, was caught red handed by po­lice at Wood Flour Mills on the evening of July 10.

Of­fi­cers were called at 7.30pm to re­ports that four men had en­tered the site and were at­tempt­ing to steal scrap metal.

While John­stone was cap­tured and ar­rested three other men, who were all wear­ing dark cloth­ing, fled via the River Dane.

Cheshire Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice launched its boat res­cue team to as­sist with a search but were un­able to trace the trio.

A se­ries of ex­plo­sions de­stroyed the wood flour fac­tory on July 17, 2015.

Derek Moore, 62, Dorothy Bai­ley, 62, Wil­liam Barks, 51, and Ja­son Shin­gler, 38, were killed in the tragedy.

The cause is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

Mr Shin­gler’s body has never been re­cov­ered.

John­stone, of Se­cond Av­enue, Kids­grove, ini­tially de­nied the charge of be­ing found in an en­closed area for the pur­pose of theft but changed his plea on the day of trial.

He was sen­tenced to a com­mu­nity or­der with six weeks cur­few and or­dered to pay courts costs of £200.

At the time po­lice de­scribed the scrap thieves as ‘de­spi­ca­ble’ and ‘ap­palling’.

The other of­fend­ers were never iden­ti­fied or traced.

Po­lice are still hop­ing any­one with any in­for­ma­tion will con­tact them.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Louise Cher­ring­ton said: “Metal theft comes in many forms and af­fects ev­ery­one − in some cases those in­volved put them­selves at great risk.

“We hope that this case will serve as a warn­ing to oth­ers that those in­volved in this type of crime will be ar­rested and pos­i­tive ac­tion will be taken.

“Metal theft is not a vic­tim­less crime. It can cost com­pa­nies vast sums of money to re­place and, in some cases, it means the pro­duc­tion process is in­ter­rupted, adding to the cost to the busi­ness.

“Cheshire Po­lice is com­mit­ted to work­ing along­side the lo­cal com­mu­nity − and lo­cal busi­nesses − to fur­ther re­duce the num­ber of in­ci­dents.

“If you see any­one act­ing sus­pi­ciously around res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties or in­dus­trial sites or wit­ness any­one steal­ing metal please call Cheshire Po­lice on 101 or Crimestop­pers, anony­mously, on 0800 555 111.”

Four peo­ple died in the dis­as­ter at Bosley Wood Flour Mills

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