One of the region’s most prolific metal thieves has been jailed for five months after breaking into a warehouse while he was on a suspended sentence for a similar crime.
David Whyte, aged 20, was previously banned from scrap yards around the region after being caught stealing metal from churches, homes and a restaurant.
He has now been back before Wolverhampton Magistrates Court, which heard he broke into a warehouse containing a number of businesses on the Stag Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, Bilston on January 28.
Whyte, from Moseley Road, Bilston, went equipped with a hacksaw and damaged property belonging to a business, during this time the owner returned to find the offender on his property and police were called.
Whyte was already on a suspended sentence for a series of crimes he committed back in September 2011 where he targeted properties in Dudley stealing a large quantity of metal over a three-month spree.
He pleaded guilty to burglary, breach of a criminal anti-social behaviour order (CRASBO) and committing an offence while on a suspended sentence.
Whyte was previously handed a landmark five-point CRASBO, one of the first made in the West Midlands to prevent metal theft and he stripped lead from a church in Sedgley, ripped brass fittings from doors and stole pots and pans from a restaurant.
The order, which covers the whole region, forbids Whyte from collecting scrap metal, visiting any scrap metal dealers, entering any derelict buildings or building sites and carrying any tool in public other than for work.
Magistrates handed Whyte 20 weeks for the burglary offence, four weeks for breaching his CRASBO and two weeks for committing and offence while on a suspended sentence to be served concurrently.
Bench Chairman Paul Eckett said: “There was a degree of planning and you were equipped for burglary.
“Because of the fact that you have such a woeful criminal record for similar offences we must take action.”
It emerged last week that metal theft in the West Midlands is at its lowest level in two years.
Latest figures showed reports peaking last May with about 850 metal thefts a month, but in December 2012 there were 100.
Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones paid tribute to efforts to tackle a problem plaguing churches, schools, homeowners and public transport.