Norwich thief and victim get together to find stolen computer

David BaleThey might seem unlikely bedfellows - but a prolific thief and a man whose stolen car he drove knowing it had been taken, have joined forces to get a stolen computer back.David Bale

They might seem unlikely bedfellows - but a prolific thief and a man whose stolen car he drove knowing it had been taken, have joined forces to get a stolen computer back.

Shane Wilson, 21, from Cadge Road, North Earlham, has agreed to help retrieve a computer stolen from employment lawyer, Gordon Dean's house.

Mr Dean, a former city councillor, appeared at Norwich magistrates' court on Wednesday for Wilson's sentencing, and later shook hands with him on the deal.

Mr Dean said afterwards that the computer was vital to his wife, Charlotte's business,, which makes children's cot blankets, as it contained the complete records of all her business clients in the last 12 years.

'It's not worth much to sell on but my wife really needs it to get back her records,' he said.

'That's why I went along to court. I thought I could speak to the young man and try and persuade him to help us get the computer back, and he has agreed to.

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'My wife and I both believe that people should not be sent to prison for non-violent crimes.

'He's clearly a young lad who needs treatment for drugs and he should pay for his offences by working in the commuinity. 'I had a word with Ian Fisher, his solicitor, and told him that we would not be pushing for a prison sentence. He's not a violent criminal.'

Wilson pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to driving Mr Dean's Ford Focus knowing it was stolen and without a licence or insurance on Ipswich Road, Norwich, on April 27.

He also admitted stealing a red Onza T-bird pushbike and a JVC boombox sub woofer from a shed in Norwich and possession of cannabis, both on March 17.

Prosecuting, Judith Piggen said the vehicle offences were committed whilst on bail, and happened after the car had been stolen from Mr Dean's house, off Earlham Road, on April 19.

The computer was also taken from Mr Dean's house on that date, but no one has been charged with the theft of either the car or the computer.

Miss Piggen said Wilson committed 10 thefts between 2006 and 2009, and Mr Dean had to pay �170 to recover his car.

In mitigation, Ian Fisher said Wilson, who is unemployed and a father of two, had promised Mr Dean to help him get the computer back.

Mr Fisher added: 'Mr Dean is in court today and my client has agreed to assist his wife in getting the computer back. The theft from the shed was opportunistic. Mr Wilson has a problem with drugs and saw an opportunity to pay for drugs by stealing the items.'

Chairman of the bench Julian Mobbs said the magistrates had decided to accept the recommendations of a pre-sentence report and not immediately jail Wilson.

Wilson received a 12 weeks jail sentence suspended for 12 months, and was fined �100 and a �15 victim surcharge.

He was also ordered to pay �100 compensation for the cycle theft and his driving licence was endorsed six points.

He must also pay Mr Dean �170 compensation.

No order for costs was made but Wilson must complete a low intensity drug rehabilitation requirement.