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Thieves in King’s Lynn court after stealing from Fakenham Garden Centre because it was raining

A pair of thieves stole hundreds of pounds worth of clothes from a town garden centre because it was raining.

William Connors, 34, and Michael Connors, 40, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with theft from a shop.

Both pleaded guilty to the offence, which they committed during a visit to Fakenham Garden Centre on February 18.

Michael Connors and William Connors stole from Fakenham Garden Centre. Picture: Google Maps
Michael Connors and William Connors stole from Fakenham Garden Centre. Picture: Google Maps

On that date, the police were called at around 3.30pm after a search for the Ford Transit van the duo were driving had been initiated.

Staff at the garden centre had noticed a large number of empty hangers, with numerous items of clothing having gone missing.

CCTV footage had captured both defendants making their way out of the premises with jackets and shirts without making any payment.

The clothes taken were worth a combined £529.93. Only some of them recovered, with £311.32 worth unaccounted for.

Officers had quickly tracked down the duo to a caravan site.

In court, they were fined £200 apiece, and will also pay £155.66 each in compensation for the stolen items.

They will also each pay an £80 victim surcharge and £145 in court costs.

Magistrates had the option of disqualifying the pair from driving but opted not to do so, deciding it would be unjust and disproportionate.

In mitigation, solicitor Andrew Cogan said: “This appears to be an opportunistic theft.”

He said it was raining on the day of the offences, and the weather contributed to the defendents’ decision to steal.

“It appears to have been raining constantly in Norfolk since last year. This day was no different,” Mr Cogan said.

“So, raining, one can only imagine what these men must have looked like leaving the garden centre with all these items.

“It must have been pretty obvious.”

The solicitor added: “They are certainly both embarrassed by what they have done - particularly William, who only has one previous conviction.”

Mr Cogan said that William Connors, of Wheatfield Road South in Northampton, suffers with mental health issues.

He also told the court that Michael Connors, of Marion Square in Kettering, Northamptonshire, has four children and is the sole carer for his family and wife.

“They guilty pleas have been entered promptly and there have been no issues with co-operating with the police,” Mr Cogan added.

He concluded by arguing that disqualifying the pair from driving would be akin to “using a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

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