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Hearse joyrider had meat cleaver down trousers

Maidstone crown court

A youth who went on a wrecking spree by joyriding in two funeral cars has landed himself behind bars for 15 months - after being caught with a meat cleaver down his trousers.

Thomas Nichols, 20, was serving two suspended sentences after two break-ins at Medway Funeral Directors, in Walderslade Road, Chatham, when he was found with the weapon.

Maidstone Crown Court heard police were patrolling an area of Gillingham that had suffered a spate of thefts from cars and burglaries when Nichols and an accomplice were stopped at 4am on January 15.

Tom Dunn, prosecuting, said a piece of plastic cut from a shower gel bottle, which can be used to force door locks, was found on his friend.

Officers then went to search Nichols. "He produced a meat cleaver from the front of his jogging bottoms, saying: 'You'd better have this.'," added Mr Dunn. "He said he was taking it home after using it to cut up some meat."

Nichols, of no fixed address, denied going equipped for theft but admitted possession of a bladed article.

His accomplice also denied going equipped for theft, but was convicted by a jury and locked up for six months.

For the full story, see Friday's Medway Messenger.

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