A burglar got away with over £71,000 in Bank Holiday car park takings after using a duplicate key to raid council offices, Lincoln Crown Court was told yesterday (Wednesday).
Samuel Harrison used the key to get into the vaults of Skegness Town Hall and removed the cash in the early hours of the morning.
The money, which was the takings from East Lindsey District Council car parks, has never been recovered.
Luke Blackburn, prosecuting, told the court: “He stole £71,547 in cash having burgled the vaults of Skegness Town Hall.
“That money had come from parking meters operated by East Lindsey District Council. It happened at about 4am.
“This defendant was the main culprit but he was assisted by at least one other man.
“He had travelled from Oxford and by August 28 he was in the Skegness area.
“He had borrowed the car which he left in Lincolnshire. After the burglary he travelled back south in a Skoda.
“There was a degree of sophistication as in the days leading up to the burglary his phones were silent as regards texts and calls.”
Mr Blackburn said that after carrying out the raid, Harrison drove back to the south of the country. He was linked to the burglary after his DNA was discovered on a key left in the door to the vaults. The key was either a spare key or a key that had been copied from an original.
Harrison’s mobile phone was checked and cell-site analysis showed that the phone had been used in the Skegness area to access the internet around the time of the raid, although no calls or texts had been sent or received.
Harrison, 29, of Orchid Way, Shiphay with Willows, Torquay, admitted burglary between August 27 and September 1, 2015.
He was jailed for two years.
Recorder Stuart Sprowston told him: “This involved some significant planning.
“The amount of money involved in this case is a significant loss to the council.
“This is so serious that it crosses the custody threshold and an immediate prison sentence must be imposed.”
Leanne Summers, in mitigation, said: “At the time of this offence the defendant was drinking heavily and had drug problems. He was using crack cocaine and amphetamine.
“Three months before this offence his grandfather had died. His grandfather was the only consistent family member in his life and his death had a huge impact on him personally.
“As a result his drug use and alcohol use increased. His marriage was failing. He found himself in a position where he desperately needed money.”
Miss Summers said that Harrison had obtained work since carrying out the burglary.
She added “He isn’t drinking. He has removed himself from the circle of people he was mixing with at the time of this offence. He has managed to get his life on a different track.”
• Two other men accused of being involved in the burglary were cleared after the prosecution offered no evidence against them.
Peter Hoyles, 32, of Willoughby Road in Sutton on Sea; and Philip Carter, 39, of Cockington in Chelston, Torquay, had each denied the charge.