A YOUNG burglar was “persuaded” to go into a house he knew to be unoccupied to retrieve his own gym equipment.

But Wayne Fenwick not only removed the weight bench and bars, but also took a fishing rod and reel from the property, in Coleridge Close, Sunnybrow, Willington, on Tuesday July 6

A neighbour recognised Fenwick, who lived nearby, and reported his suspiciouns to police.

Durham Crown Court was told a male matching his description was seen riding off on a mountain bike when police arrived.

Kate Barnes, prosecuting, said the neighbour had taken a photograph of him “in the act” and, on examination, police recognised Fenwick as the culprit.

Officers went to his home in Rockingham Road, where the weight bench was found in a rear shed and the fishing gear was recovered inside the house.

Miss Barnes said the previous tenant of the burgled house left days earlier and the landlord was carrying out renovations.

The court heard Fenwick, 21, who admitted burglary, has four convictions for 11 offences, all committed since 2020.

He was subject of a suspended sentence imposed only six weeks before the break-in.

Lewis Kerr, in mitigation, said Fenwick, who has some learning difficulties, was “extremely vulnerable” and subject to influence from other young men.

He knew some of his gym equipment, which he previously loaned to the former tenant, remained in the property and was “persuaded” to retrieve it.

But he accepted having taken other items while there.

Mr Kerr said it has cost Fenwick ten week behind bars on remand, where he is easily exploited by older inmates.

Judge James Adkin said the nature of the offence, combined with the fact he has had a taste of custody since the offence was committed enabled him to pass a four-month community order, with a three-month 7pm to 7am home curfew.

Fenwick must also attend ten further rehabilitation activity days overseen by the Probation Service and remains subject to the previous suspended sentence for the next 20 months.

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