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Five to face jury over Nestlé copper thefts
10:36am Tuesday 1st May 2012 in News
Five men will stand trail later this year accused of plotting to steal copper cable from a chocolate factory in York and sell it for scrap.
They stood in the dock at York Crown Court with three other men.
All eight were charged with conspiracy to steal from the Nestlé site in York.
The conspiracy allegedly dates to a six-week period between August and October last year.
The public gallery was packed as each of the men filed into the courtroom yesterday.
The charge was denied by the remaining five defendants: Philip Morgan, 26, of Jute Road, Acomb, Gavin Rutherford, 18, of Clifton caravan site, Thomas Hardcastle, 24, of Beckfield Lane, and Gary Moore, 25, and brother Daniel Moore, 26, both of Danebury Drive, Acomb.
Recorder Neil Davey QC set a trial date for their trial which is expected to last five days. He released them on bail until Monday, October 29 when they will appear before a jury.
The three men who pleaded guilty, Burns, Horsewood and Longhawn, were also released on bail and are expected to be sentenced in the autumn at a date to be fixed.
Metal thieves have been the scourge of residents, businesses, schools, churches and rail passengers with the problem rising year on year.
In North Yorkshire alone, 1,300 cases of metal thefts were reported last year – more than three a day on average.
The Metal Theft (Prevention) Bill, aimed at introducing a licensing scheme for scrap metal dealers, banning cash-in-hand deals and giving police more powers to search scrapyards, is intended to tackle the national problem.