A REPEAT offender put a photograph of himself on Facebook holding a stolen air rifle.
But the owner recognised the gun on the social media site, leading to the arrest of Lester James Poynton.
Poynton appeared at Mold Crown Court where he admitted possessing two air weapons when prohibited, handling them as stolen goods, burglary of commercial premises in Mold and the theft of an Ifor Williams trailer and copper cable.
Judge Niclas Parry branded Poynton “a career criminal” and said he had previous convictions for 115 offences. He jailed him for 25 months.
Poynton, 45, of Sealand Road, Chester, was told the burglary at commercial premises was planned. He had gone there equipped to cut through a fence, he had made a temporary ramp and a trailer had been taken along with high value copper cable.
Such businesses were vulnerable and it was not easy to secure them, the judge said.
He warned the theft of cable was “reaching epidemic proportions” in North Wales.
The weapons had been stolen during a house burglary and Poynton had handled them.
The public was concerned about the criminal use of firearms, the judge said, adding: “The authorities need to know where every weapon is held.”
Such break-ins occurred because the burglars knew that there were people like the defendant who were willing to take the proceeds.
He had done so when prohibited from holding a firearm.
“The public needs protecting from you,” Judge Parry told him.
Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said the burglary took place at the Bryn Mawr Industrial Estate in Mold, which was surrounded by a seven foot high security fence.
Poynton gained entry last August and took a trailer and copper cable to the value of more that £4,000.
A PCSO saw Poynton in October driving a Land-Rover and towing a trailer. When the officer turned around and followed, the trailer was found abandoned and the cable was on the trailer but the copper had been removed.
A footwear impression from the premises was linked to a pair of shoes found in Poynton’s garage.
A house burglary occurred in February of last year when various items of property were taken including several air guns.
The owner later discovered Poynton had posted pictures of himself on Facebook, posing with an air rifle.
“He was able to recognise it as one of the stolen weapons,” said Mr Edwards.
Police were contacted, a search warrant was obtained and two of the stolen air rifles were found at Poynton’s home.
He claimed he had bought one of them at a car boot sale in Chirk and that the other had been left at his home by a friend he refused to name.
Poynton maintained his account when police officers pointed out the co-incidence that two airguns from the same burglary had been found at his home.
Mark Connor, defending, acknowledged Poynton had many previous convictions but his offending “has slowed down”.
Poynton was a man who was devoted to his grandchildren and he was upset with himself for putting himself in such a position.
“He knows he only has himself to blame,” Mr Connor said.
See full story in the Chester Leader