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Man jailed for spate of burglaries at Stockport station

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James Andrew Bird

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A man has been jailed for a total of 21 months after he pleaded guilty to a spate of four burglaries at Stockport station, following a British Transport Police investigation.

James Andrew Bird, aged 59, of Durham House, Stockport, pleaded guilty to four counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 7 July, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £149. He also received a 12 week sentence to run consecutively for breaching a previous order.

The court heard how between October 14 last year and May 31 2020, Bird targeted the same station in a series of burglaries.

He first struck in the early hours of October 14, breaking into the platform offices and stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment. 
On February 27 this year CCTV from the previous evening showed Bird causing damage to one of the ticket vending machines at the station.
He struck for a third time in the early hours of Monday, March 9, again forcing entry to station offices resulting in damage to the tune of more than £6000.

Shortly before 1am on Saturday, May 9, while government restrictions on travel were in place,  Bird this time forced entry into the team leader’s office spending almost 20 minutes inside.  He was captured on CCTV leaving with a large rucksack and identified by a British Transport Police officer. Damage to the office door cost Avanti West Coat, who manage the station, more than £380 to repair.

At 2.45am on Monday, June 1, Bird and a counterpart were seen on CCTV by security staff from an adjacent office. They appeared to be looking through windows and trying to open locked office doors. The member of staff reported a burglary in progress to police.
When police arrived, Bird was located near the station and searched. Officers found he was carrying a torch and a chisel. Bird was subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempted burglary and going equipped to steal. 

Investigating officer DC Melissa Birchall said: “Bird’s crime spree became more daring which made him increasingly careless. He clearly became reckless following his previous successful attempts to break onto property at the station and forgot that the railway is a CCTV rich environment and he would eventually be caught.
“To any other thieves out there – be warned – it’s only a matter of time before you fall foul of the law. We will bring you before the courts just like Bird, who is now contemplating his crime spree from a cell.”

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