Burnley police operation nets addict

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A HEROIN addict who sold undercover police officers stolen garden equipment, tools and car stereos has been jailed.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Scott Simpson (32), a convicted drugs supplier with more than 60 previous convictions, told officers he only had two hours a day to commit crime as he was on a curfew – but promised better stuff than car stereos when his tag was removed.

Simpson was one of about 30 people arrested in the covert operation, which took place in the Burnley area, between last September and December.

The defendant, who was involved with stolen equipment worth several thousand pounds, made no comment when he was arrested in March, but owned up after he was shown covert film footage.

Simpson, then of Clarence Street, Burnley, admitted two shed burglaries, three thefts from a vehicle and four counts of arranging to handle stolen goods, and had been committed for sentence by Burnley magistrates. He asked for three offences to be considered.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Simpson broke into sheds on Woodgrove Road, Burnley.

He had got the officers’ phone number, contacted them in October and they went to his mother’s yard, where he had property stashed under a tarpaulin.

He sold a bench planer, lawnmower and pressure washer for £50. Simpson also sold the officers four car stereos.

The defendant had sent the officers a text in November, telling them he had three stereos, which were stashed in an alley as he had been chased by police the night before. The officers handed over £50.

Miss Statham said Simpson told the officers he could only commit crime between 5 and 7 p.m. because he was on a tagged curfew and car stereos could be obtained in two hours.

Mr Richard Taylor (defending) said drugs had blighted Simpson’s life for many years after he was introduced to heroin, he said, at the age of 14.

Mr Taylor said Simpson, who had been on remand, had got a job as a prison cleaner and was teaching other prisoners to read.

Sentencing Simpson to 21 months in jail, Recorder Suzanne Goddard QC told him: “You have a very poor record for offences of this nature. You have several previous convictions and have received custodial sentences, as well as community orders.”