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Man living in tent cleared of taking part in Redditch burglary
4:20pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
A REDDITCH man who was living in a tent has been cleared of stealing a diamond ring and 55 other items in a night-time raid on a nearby home.
Craig Field, aged 34, now of Salop Road, Redditch, was living in a tent in woodland 700 metres from the burgled property, Cottage Farm in Field Farm Lane, Ipsley, with another homeless man. The other man, Ross Morgan, pleaded guilty to burglary last year, Worcester Crown Court was told, but Field denied the charge. He was found not guilty by a unanimous verdict after a two day trial.
The occupiers of the house, Andrea and Paul Bennett, were awoken by noise and torch light at about 4am on September 9 last year and Mrs Bennett noticed valuables had been stolen from their bedroom, Anthony Potter, prosecuting, told the court,
The haul included a £4,000 diamond eternity ring owned by Mrs Bennett's mother, earrings, necklaces, watches, a torch, clothing, bank cards and £100 cash.
The Bennetts also discovered a burglary at their home earlier the same night at about 1am.
A check by Mr Bennett with his bank showed a stolen card had been used at 2.30am at a Studley cashpoint. CCTV footage showed Field near the cashpoint at the time.
Police also found a glove in the tent suspected of being used in the raid with his blood inside. They found a chisel, paper knife for prising locks and a screwdriver. Also recovered were Mr Bennett's wallet and some other items taken in the raid.
Mr Potter said Morgan and Field went into Redditch together on September 10 when Morgan sold two of the stolen rings at a jewellers for £120.
Kevin Grego, defending, said Field shared a tent with Morgan but there was no separate space for his own property. He said it was a small tent with room for sleeping bags and cardboard boxes for bedding but there was no way of deciding what items belonged to each of the occupants.
Field, he said, was not asleep on the night of the incident but had just gone to the cashpoint with Morgan who had told him they could go on to get some heroin.
He said Field had not had a burglary conviction since 2001 though he had been in trouble for drugs and shoplifting.