Squatter jailed for stealing entire kitchen, including the sink
A squatter has been jailed for causing £70,000 damage to an empty house which he stripped of everything including the kitchen sink.
Ricky Wilkins moved into the farm cottage in mid Devon and lived there for two months while systematically dismantling it and selling every scrap of metal for scrap.
He only left when he had torn out all the plumbing and wiring and left water flooding out from the pipes he had removed.
The farmer who owned the two adjoining cottages at Halberton, near Tiverton, returned to find them wrecked and in need of up to £70,000 of repairs.
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Wilkins, aged 30, of Pinnex Moor, Tiverton, admitted burglary and was jailed for two years by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge told him:”To say that you trashed this building is an understatement. You wrecked it and caused a very serious loss to the owner.
“You squatted there for two and a half months and while there stole all the copper piping, all the wiring and the sink, taps and fittings, leading to significant water damage.
“The whole place will have to be rewired, re-plumbed and decorated. A lot of the kitchen fittings were just pulled out so you could get at things you could steal and sell.”
Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said the house at Orchard Cottages, Halberton, is owned by a local farmer who rented it out but was between tenants when Wilkins broke in. He went to check it in June and found it wrecked.
She said:”Wilkins had systematically steal all of the pipework and plumbing fittings. Every single inch of piping and the taps had been removed and the house left in a very poor and uninhabitable state.
“Wilkins was identified by his finger prints on a bong left in the house and on the doors where he had broken in.”
She said at the time Wilkins was on prison licence, having only been released a couple of weeks before he moved into the cottages.
Miss Vanessa Francis, defending, said Wilkins was housed in a probation hostel in Bonhay Road, Exeter, on his release but did not like it and moved into the cottages which he knew because his brother had once lived there.
She said he had no income and started taking metal from the house and selling it to enable him to live.