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14th February 2009
Scrap dealer jailed for role in keg thefts
FORMER scrap merchant Christopher Armstrong has
been jailed for eight months for handling tens of thousands of
pounds worth of stolen goods.
The 30-year-old, of Hope Street, Bignall End, worked at Sandbach
Car and Commercial when in May last year, an Italian truck driver
arrived with £23,000 worth of fence panels.
The goods were not intended for that business, but an unnamed man
arranged for them to be taken to scrap yard Armstrong owned in
The panels were unloaded there, but when the driver asked for paperwork
to be signed, he was told to follow a vehicle which then lost him.
The driver contacted the police, who attended Armstrong's yard.
worth £17,000 were missing and police noticed a large number
of beer kegs.
The 308 kegs were valued at £29,855. Some had been damaged
Armstrong pleaded guilty to two charges of handling stolen goods,
and admitted dealing in scrap metal when the appropriate details
were not registered at the borough council, and breaching environmental
Trevor Meegan, defending, said the fence panels offence was not
premeditated or planned.
He said: "The defendant was recruited on the day. He knew
the panels were stolen. He has not received any financial benefit.
"He was storing the panels as a favour for a man called Pat.
"With regard to the beer kegs, he was under substantial pressure
from two gipsies to store them and cut them up and smelt them down
as a way of paying off his late father's debt."
Judge Robert Trevor-Jones told Armstrong: "In the scrap metal
business, you are prone to be offered tempting materials which
can be disposed of quickly.
"You knew the beer kegs were stolen. They had a value of nearly £30,000.
"This was largely pressed on you by members of the travelling
"I might have been able to suspend the sentence but not in
view of you handling stolen fence panels at the same time. It was
opportunistic. You took a willing part.
"There has to be an immediate custodial sentence."
Reprinted from The Sentinel 14/02/09
Further information can be found by contacting
Keg Watch Limited either by telephoning 0808 100 1945
or by visiting the web site www.kegwatch.co.uk.