Teenager Mark Knight was found guilty of stealing £25,000
worth of lead from the roof of Rochester Cathedral,
which he then sold on for a mere ninety pounds.
On 19th December he appeared before Maidstone Crown
Court for a confiscation hearing.
Judge James O'Mahony settled for the sum of one pound.
Yes, one hundred pennies; the price of a small bar of
chocolate; a week's pocket money for a five year-old.
Wright had already received a two year jail sentence
before the confiscation hearing which saw his defence
claim he was homeless and had never received any state
The court heard how Knight sold the lead to Medway
Metals in his hometown of Strood, with 'no questions
I got the impression that young Mark Wright was perhaps
one of those fellows who has never managed to fit into
society, even to the point of not being able to get
himself to the benefits office.
Obviously, I don't condone what he did, but I wondered
why the newspaper article said nothing about punishment
for the company who received the stolen goods, so I
emailed Medway Metals, as follows:
a news website - thelabourparty.org - which has no connection
to the UK Labour Party.
I read in
Mail online that you paid a teenager, Mark Knight,
£90 for £25,000 worth of lead.
states that you were established in 1999, so I find
it strange that you would not have been pretty certain
that the lead had been stolen; after all, who would
sell such a large amount of lead for such a small price?
I am missing something, but I would have thought that
a genuine owner should have some idea to its value and
that an honest scrap dealer would have paid a much fairer
Like I said,
perhaps I am missing something and if so, I hope you
will clarify the situation for me.
I also wondered
if you will be helping the people at Rochester Cathedral
to replace the stolen lead.
I just wanted
to give you the opportunity to help me to understand
the situation to the fullest as I wish to write about
it this evening and do not want to misrepresent you.
in advance for your help.
That was six days ago and I am still awaiting a reply,
so I think I can safely say they are not interested
in defending themselves and that I am free to offer
Perhaps they have all gone off to the Caribbean for
the winter on their ill-gotten gains?
Imagine if anyone other than a scrap metal dealer had
handled £25,000 worth of stolen goods, almost
certainly knowingly. They would have been frogmarched
off to the police station faster than you could say
Somehow, the Arthur Daley types always seem to get
away with it.
The financial breakdown of the case seems to be
Mark Wright - pays £1.00.
Rochester Cathedral - lose £25,000 worth of
The Taxpayer - pays around £50,000 to keep
Mr Wright in prison for two years, plus extra money
for police time and legal aid.
Medway Metals - increase the value of their stock
by £24,910 net, which I hope the local tax office
So who pays the least - the thief.
Who pays the most - everyone else, except:
Arthur Daley, who makes a great big profit.
That's justice in Britain, where two wrongs make a
right and us taxpaying mugs can just shut up because
the 'authorities' really are tough on people who leave
their bins open six inches and on primary schoolchildren
who are overheard calling someone 'gay' in the playground
or who don't have any fruit in their lunchboxes.
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