Published: 00:00, 26 June 2017
| Updated: 14:15, 26 June 2017
A metal thief who flooded a house when he stole a hot water tank and copper piping from a neighbour has been jailed.
Luke Everhurst, of Saltings Road, caused almost £10,000 worth of damage when he broke into a house in the same street.
The 27-year-old, along with an accomplice Darren McGrath, broke into an empty home in Snodland during the evening of March 9, 2016, after smashing a rear window.
Officers responding to reports of loud noises coming from the building discovered water flowing from the front door.
An inspection of the house revealed the hot water tank and various copper pipes had been removed, causing extensive flooding.
Unsuccessful attempts had also been made to remove radiators.
Everhurst was located by police walking away from a pile of pipes in the middle of the garden.
McGrath was found in a neighbouring garden, where in an outbuilding officers recovered the stolen tank as well as tools which would have been needed to cut through the pipes.
Both men were arrested and later charged with burglary.
"They caused damage and destruction costing thousands of pounds to repair and also considerable distress to the property owner" - Det Constable Andy Julier
Appearing at Maidstone Crown Court on June 22 Everhurst was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment.
He had previously denied the charge, but was found guilty following a trial at a magistrates’ court.
McGrath, aged 27, formerly of Wallis Avenue, Maidstone pleaded guilty but failed to appear at court for sentencing and a warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
Detective Constable Andy Julier said: "Everhurst and McGrath broke into this property, just days after the previous tenants had moved out.
"It was empty and they sought to strip it of every piece of metal they could get their hands on.
"They have caused damage and destruction costing thousands of pounds to repair and also considerable distress to the person who owned the property.
"Thankfully, the evidence against these two was overwhelming.
"When we arrested Everhurst his tracksuit bottoms were wet around the knees even though the weather was dry.
"Forensic tests also later matched fragments of glass from the broken window with fragments recovered from a fleece Everhurst had been wearing, as well as a hat belonging to McGrath."
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