Barking burglar claimed he was rescuing foxes
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
A removal man who broke into a national grid switch room told Snaresbrook Crown Court he was only on the site to rescue trapped foxes.
John Harwood, 51, of Endeavour Way, Barking, broke in to the site in Armada Way, Beckton, with a bag of tools to try and saw free some exposed cables, causing £15,400 of damage.
The switch room, which contained wires that carried thousands of volts, was declared unsafe and left out of action for days.
Harwood admitted burglary but insisted he hadn’t entered the site intending to steal anything.
“I heard this strange noise […] like an animal in distress,” he said.
You may also want to watch:
Two foxes were trapped in a quarry, he said.
He alerted the security guard but two days later saw the foxes were still trapped – so he took down some makeshift fencing and put it in the hole for them to use as a ladder.
- 1 Dagenham pop-up shop sees young people sell their products and share skills
- 2 Road and rail round-up: Disruptions to travel in east London this week
- 3 Men reportedly 'impersonated officers' to get access to Barking home
- 4 380 homes and commercial space set to be built at Dagenham Dock
- 5 Stephen Port inquests: Detective apologises to families for mistakes
- 6 Jailed: Man who crashed stolen van then headbutted police officer
- 7 Dagenham advance in FA Cup with two late goals at Wealdstone
- 8 'Life is hard, why make it harder?': Protesters call for new consultation over parking scheme roll out
- 9 Dagenham showed 'mental strength' in FA Cup win over Wealdstone
- 10 Chain of 10,000 teddies to be displayed in memory of toddler Ava
Harwood said only then did he notice the switch room 100 yards away.
The door was already open, the tools were there and somebody else had already started hacking at the cable, he alleged.
But Harwood decided to stop his crime after a change of heart.
He was tracked down through DNA found on a bottle.
A bag full of tools and a hacksaw had also been left.
Richard Jones, prosecuting, said: “You had taken tools to the site to steal.
“The foxes story is just that – a story.”
Defending, Nicholas Wood said: “If the tools were his it seems odd he didn’t take them with him.”
Judge Patrick Swaffer on Monday called the foxes story “entirely implausible”.
He added: “I am sure he entered the premises equipped and by his actions contributed to rendering the premises unsafe.”
Harwood was granted unconditional bail until his sentencing on December 12.