Two crooks caught red-handed with nearly £60k of steel in truck

A pair of building site thieves were caught driving away with a truck full of valuable steelwork parts. Levi Walker and Joseph Walker had just helped themselves to the metal from a site in Sileby Road, Barrow-upon-Soar, on the night of Sunday April 24, when the police swooped. Leicester Crown Court was told that a maintenance supervisor alerted the police to a damaged gate at the site and officers who responded encountered a lorry approaching them along a dirt track near the scene.

The vehicle diverted into a field, where it was abandoned with the engine still running. Nicola Patten, prosecuting, said the truck was fully laden with prefabricated steelwork parts from the site, originally estimated to be worth about GBP20,000 – but a subsequent valuation revealed the haul was actually worth GBP59,000. Levi Walker, of Hungarton Lane, Keyham, and Joseph Walker of Greengate Lane, Birstall, fled on foot, but police dog, Astro, tracked them across wasteland and a thick undergrowth before locating both men hiding in a ditch.

:Denver Barfield’s bereaved mum discovers demand for GBP10,000 to repatriate body from Vietnam was cruel scam The force’s dogs section posted confirmation of their arrests, at the time, on Facebook, with a picture of Astro on the truck with the recovered steel. Levi Walker admitted the theft, which also placed him in breach of a six month suspended jail sentence, imposed just 11 days earlier on April 13, for handling a stolen Ford Ranger pick-up truck worth GBP24,000.

Joseph Walker admitted theft of the steel. He also pleaded guilty to an earlier building site theft when he and unknown others loaded a micro-digger and a dumper truck, together worth GBP40,000, onto a trailer. The police intervened before the equipment was taken away from a construction site in Carrington Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire, on Wednesday March 30.

Sentencing, Judge Adrian Reynolds, said: “You’ve both been engaging in serious commercial crime.” He told 26-year-old Levi Walker: “You committed this offence within two weeks of receiving a suspended sentence – when you were given a chance by this court. “You didn’t take it. The public would be scandalised if I didn’t impose custody and send you to prison for what you’ve done.”

He told 21-year-old Joseph Walker, who spent three weeks on remand in custody and had no previous convictions, that although he was being sentenced for two building site thefts: “I believe you’re young enough to learn a lesson from this. “Don’t be under any illusion, you won’t get another chance. Observe what happens to Levi Walker, who’s already had his chance.”

In mitigation, the court heard the defendants’ relatives had turned out in force, filling the public gallery to support them. Levi Walker, a tree surgeon, and Joseph Walker, a landscape gardener, were both said to have been in financial difficulties at the time of their “opportunistic” offending, committed in desperation due to lack of work opportunities following the pandemic. Levi Walker was jailed for a total of 14 months – of which eight months were for the theft of steel, to run consecutively with the six month suspended sentence that was activated in full.

Joseph Walker was given a 12 month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 100 hours of unpaid work and a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.