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Like paying a fox to look after chicke ns; Security guard burgled school he was supposed to watch over.

Byline: ELWYN ROBERTS

A SECURITY guard twice burgled the private North Wales school he was paid to protect, a court heard yesterday.

Convicted burglar James Andrew Marland went on a spending spree after the raids,buying clothes and a car.

Among his haul, the school claimed, was cash collected for charity.

Marland, who allegedly took drugs to stay awake during his shifts at Howells School in Denbigh, was yesterday put behind bars for 15 months.

And a judge said it was like a fox being paid to look after the chickens. He suggested the school had grounds for action against the security firm that employed Marland.

Judge John Rogers QC, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said it was regrettable Marland, 20,had been taken on by the company when he had previous convictions for burglary.

Marland was placed by MPH Securities of Pensarn to look after Howells School -but burgled an office twice within 48 hours.

Yesterday, Marland of Marine Road, Pensarn, near Abergele,admitted the two burglaries in November,and failing to turn up in court previously.

He was sent to a young offenders' institution for 13 months.

Marland claimed to have taken pounds 900 but the school said pounds 1,600,including money collected for charity,had been taken.

It turned out he was taking amphetamines to stay awake, was in dispute with the company over his wages, and was sacked for leaving the school site when he was supposed to be working, before the burglaries were discovered.

Judge Rogers ordered a pounds 700 car, which Marland had bought, should be sold and the proceeds used to compensate the school.

John Philpotts,prosecuting, said the school could ill afford to lose such money. Marland had told his girl friend what he had done and later admitted it to the police.

In July 2000,Marland was convicted of burgling an office at a children's home,and also had a burglary conviction from November 2002.

Owen Edwards, defending, said Marland had a sad background,had spent most of his young life in care,and had tried to get on with his life.

He had worked but had problems with attention deficit disorder and depression and had received psychiatric care in the past.

It was somewhat surprising his employers had taken him on and if checks were made his previous convictions had not been revealed.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 5, 2004
Words:394
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