TWIN brothers from Chester who were caught red-handed with power tools belonging to their neighbours later sent them cards and flowers by way of an apology, magistrates heard yesterday.
Keith and Wayne Ashworth, 35, denied breaking into their neighbour’s shed and stealing various items including a strimmer and petrol cans but pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods.
West Cheshire Magistrates’ Court was told police overheard the pair plotting to conceal a stolen petrol lawnmower in a hedge just yards from the burgled shed in Lache Hall Crescent, Lache.
Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, said Keith Ashworth had attempted to flee over a hedge but police gave chase and pulled him back by his shorts before restraining him.
He and his brother, both of Lache Hall Crescent, were arrested and the strimmer and petrol cans were recovered nearby along with a child’s swing pole and towels from the neighbours washing line.
Other items were recovered inside the brothers home.
Ms Byrne told the court the neighbour raised the alarm after being woken by noise in the early hours of July 19. She and her husband later realised padlocks on their shed and garden gate had been broken off and discovered the items had gone missing
Ms Byrne said the police arrived and heard two male voices - with one referring to the other as ‘Keith’ - talking about moving a mower.
She said: “Keith Ashworth was spotted attempting to pass a mower through a hedge. A police officer took hold of his shorts to stop him from getting away.”
Michael Hemsley, defending, said the brothers had drug problems.
“They both need help.” he said.
Mr Hemsley said there was confusion over who had stolen the items but the brothers had now made peace with their neighbours.
He said: “Both have sent a card and flowers to their neighbours.
“Everything is now back to normal between the brothers and their neighbours, it seems.”
Wayne Ashworth was under a 12-month conditional discharge when he committed the offence. He was handed an eight-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, along with curfew for 12 weeks and ordered to pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Keith Ashworth, who also admitted obstructing a police officer, was sentenced to a 12 month community order with 12 months supervision. He was also order to complete a drug rehabilitation program, and pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.