A 36-year-old man who denied stealing lead from the leisure centre roof in Royal Wootton Bassett was found guilty at North Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court last week.
Ajmol Ali, of William Street, Calne, said he didn’t intend to steal anything when he drove acquaintance Stuart Web to Lime Kiln Leisure Centre on November 19, when £2,000 worth of lead was stolen.
Ali said Web had promised him they were just picking up scrap metal, but magistrates said they believed he knew it was stolen.
Around 10.30pm on the night of the offence Web called the defendant, who was at his flat with his girlfriend and her newborn son, to ask if he could give him a lift to the leisure centre. They parked at the centre’s car park within view of a CCTV camera.
PC Mayhew was called to the site just after midnight when a CCTV operator spotted a man on the leisure centre roof.
Ali was found hiding in bushes at the back of the building.
In a statement to police, Ali said: “He rang me and offered me £100 to drive him into Wootton Bassett and collect some things. At first I wasn’t really interested, my girlfriend told me not to, but then I thought £100 was £100. I did tell him I wasn’t interested if it was anything dodgy and he said it wasn’t dodgy, just a lot of scrap.”
Web, who was jailed for 10 weeks after pleading guilty to theft, was identified on the roof of the leisure centre after he was lit up by a helicopter search beam and his wallet was later found on the roof.
It was agreed that Ali stayed on the ground at all time, but the defence and prosecution disagreed on whether Ali thought the metal was scrap, whether he knew Web was on the roof and whether he intended to steal.
Defence solicitor Paul Mertens said the presence of contractors on the site could have persuaded Ali that Web was there legitmately.
Magistrates found Ali guilty of theft by joint enterprise and he will appear back at the North Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court for sentencing on December 3.