A SALESMAN taught to shoplift by his drug addict parents was found with a lawnmower, glide board, laptop and tribal masks burgled from a Wiltshire pub.

Tobi Kent told police he had been offered the goods by another man. The items had been stolen from the Rusty Stag pub in Broughton Gifford in January 2018, while the landlord was visiting his sick daughter in hospital.

Now, the 31-year-old, formerly of Forest Road, Melksham, has been given a two-year community order and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work after he admitted handling stolen goods.

His partner, Rhea Escott, 35, of Woodpecker Close, Broughton Gifford, pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge. Swindon Crown Court heard she had paid £800 into her bank account and withdrawn £500 of that after Kent had been arrested.

Prosecuting, Hannah Squire said the case arose out of a burglary of the Rusty Stag pub committed between January 4 and January 6, 2018.

The landlord was away at the time visiting his daughter in hospital and the pub was empty.

“When he returned a burglary had taken place, with a number of items taken along with a significant amount of money: £11,000,” Ms Squire said.

Two witnesses told police they had seen two people pushing a lawnmower stacked with items down Woodpecker Close, a two-minute walk from the pub.

That led officers to Kent and Escott, then living on the cul-de-sac. Police found the stolen goods and more than £2,500 in £50 notes. Interviewed by police, Kent claimed he had been offered the items by a then colleague.

David Maunder, for Kent, said his client had grown up around drugs and violence, the child of heroin and amphetamine addicts: “The thing he was taught to do most successfully was shoplift on his parents’ behalf.”

Despite a significant criminal record with 33 convictions for 67 offences, Kent was now working well with the probation service, had won accolades as a salesman and was employed by his brother: “He tells me as far as he is concerned his life is in a better place now than it has been since he was 14 years of age.”

Judge Taylor, who jailed Kent earlier this year for an assault matter, praised the defendant’s improvement – flagged by probation officers: “Mr Kent, I am really encouraged by what I’ve read. I think you’ve done well since you’ve left prison. I’m encouraged by that and I hope you are too.”

Escott received an 18-month community order with a requirement to complete 25 rehabilitation activity days and a six-month alcohol rehab course.