A THIEF was caught red-handed as he tried to strip copper wiring from an empty building.
Robert Sykes, of College Street in Thornton Lodge, was apprehended by police as he got to work using tools he had found in the town centre property.
He admitted trespassing with intent to steal on March 27.
Linda Fowler, prosecuting, told Kirklees magistrates the building in question was the former Co-op on New Street.
The premises is being renovated and is currently empty.
Linda Fowler, prosecuting, said that at 12.38am police were alerted to reports of noise coming from the building.
She said: “Police attended and they could hear the noise.
“They went inside and on the third floor was the defendant.
“He was stood in front of an electrical panel box with bolt clippers.
“He was cutting the metal fixtures from the box.”
Mrs Fowler said that Sykes, 26, had other tools ready to be taken away from the building.
Sykes told police in interview that he noticed a window was smashed and had gone into the building to see what he could steal.
He found a box of tools and had started to cut the copper when police arrived, he said.
Magistrates were told that Sykes had a lengthy record, with convictions including theft and burglary.
Mark Brookes, for Sykes, said that his client had no family ties and would often live with different friends.
He said he supplemented his income by stealing copper wire and hadn’t engaged with the probation service.
Magistrates gave Sykes a community order, including a 12-week curfew which will be electronically monitored.
He was also ordered to pay £85 costs.