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Watford man, Lui Miller, given suspended sentence for attempted digger theft
An alert neighbour called the police after seeing a man trying to steal a digger at night from a building site in Berkhamsted.
Officers arrived at Cross Oak Road and when they searched the area found Lui Miller from Watford hiding nearby in the bushes.
He was trying to steal the £6,000 digger to pay off drug debts, St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday.
Davina Mottien, prosecuting, said when the scene was examined the police found that locks and chains had been cut. A trench that had been made around the digger to prevent it being stolen had been filled in.
Miller, 24, of The Square, Harebreaks, pleaded guilty to attempted theft and being in enclosed premises for an unlawful activity at around 9pm at night on September 27 this year. He had previous convictions for theft.
Richard Storey, defending, said: "He had not been stealing to order, but he knew people who would take the digger." He said at the time he owned a drug debt.
Miller was working as a tree surgeon and had left school at 14, being unable to read or write. In the past he had been a heavy drinker and user of Class A drugs. He is in a long term relationship and has a six-month-old child.
Judge Andrew Bright QC passed an eight month jail sentence suspended for two years, with 18 months' supervision. He must attend a Thinking Skills Programme and will be on an electronic curfew between 8pm and 8am for the next four months.
He must also pay £500 compensation, £425 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
The judge told him: "I am giving you a last chance. Come back before me and you will go to prison."
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