A MILITARY enthusiast who stole £60,000 worth of equipment from the RAF over three years has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

Cameron Milburn was a member of the Northumbrian University Air Squadron and a volunteer reservist when he stole items including aircraft parts and clothes from RAF Leeming, in North Yorkshire, between 2015 and 2018.

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He pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and was sentenced today at York Crown Court.

The court was told that the value of the stolen aircraft parts alone was almost £50,000, whilst two flying helmets and clothing also taken by Milburn was worth more than £7,000.

Milburn, who turns 26 on Thursday, was caught after staff at the squadron noticed things going missing and called in the Military Police to investigate.

However, due to Milburn’s volunteer status, the matter was passed onto the civilian forces and he was arrested at his Sacriston home by Durham Police.

When officers searched his home they uncovered the extent of his thieving.

As well as the aircraft parts – including from a Tornado jet – officers also discovered an identity card he should have returned, four keys and two bicycles taken from the base.

The Northern Echo:

RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire Picture: Google

Prosecuting, Michael Cahill said Milburn admitted to police that items that weren’t his ‘had fallen into his possession’ but he had no intention of keeping them.

He planned on returning the bikes – valued at £750 each - but ‘panicked’ after he realised they had been reported stolen and was waiting until he could return them out of hours.

Mr Cahill added: “In terms of the aircraft parts, he said he had taken them because he believed they were going to be skipped.

“He said he was going to build an aircraft simulator with them.”

Mitigating, Chris Morrison said that Milburn, who was also member of the Air Cadets Association and the volunteer gliding squadron at RAF Topcliffe, had let himself and his family down as well as an organisation he was proud to be a part of.

He added: “He is still not sure to this day why he took those items.”

Mr Morrison said Milburn has already suffered due to his career aspirations in the military and legal professions being curtailed due to his ‘stupid and pointless’ behaviour.

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He said he was currently in full-time work and was considering becoming a HGV driver.

Mr Morrison pointed out that Milburn had good A-level grades in the sciences, adding: “He is bright and well-motivated and still has youth on his side.”

Judge Simon Hickey acknowledged that Milburn, of Ashford Drive, Sacriston, had been of an ‘impeccable’ character before the thefts and gave him credit for his guilty pleas.

He sentenced him to a 16-month prison term, suspended for one year, along with 80-hours unpaid work.

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