A THIEVING window cleaner caught carrying a stolen pair of ladders had taken them to help set up his own business, a court heard.

Aspiring window cleaner Andrew Warwick was caught by police carrying the pair of stolen ladders down Northgate, in Darlington, at about 12.30am on the morning of Saturday, November 9.

Magistrates in Darlington heard the 30-year-old had seen the £300 ladders on the roof of a van parked in the street and asked a nearby stranger if they were for sale.

The man said they were and Warwick paid £20 for them before the pair removed them and he went on his way.

Prosecutor Rachael Dodsworth said: “A random man has offered these ladders for sale to the defendant and he has accepted them.”

In mitigation, Graham Hunsley said Warwick, of High Northgate, in Darlington, has been without a job for a number of years and, to help him get back into employment, he had been working with staff at the Job Centre who were helping him to get started as a window cleaner.

A grant had helped him to secure some equipment, but he had to borrow a pair of ladders as he didn’t have his own.

Mr Hunsley said: “The opportunity to accept them in the circumstances he did was one motivated on the one hand dishonestly, but on the other hand by an attempt at bettering himself in terms of keeping this employment going.

“If anybody was going to be stopped by police I suspect it is a man walking through Darlington at half past midnight carrying some ladders.

“He might as well have been wearing a black and white striped jumper and carrying a bag marked swag.”

Warwick, who is on licence after being released from a ten-month prison sentence, admitted theft from a motor vehicle.

Magistrates sentenced him to a six-month community order and ordered him to complete 40 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

Sentencing Warwick, chairman of the bench Glynn Wales told him: “We wish you well with your window cleaning business.”