A DROITWICH man who was on the run while his three co-defendants were sentenced last year for stealing thousands of pounds worth of precious metals from a recycling plant, has now admitted his involvement in the theft.

At Gloucester Crown Court in January last year Thomas Nightingale, 20, of Dilmore Avenue, Worcester, and Shaun Hyde, 36, of Lawfred Avenue, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, received 12 months suspended jail terms for their parts in stealing 21 bags of precious metal powder valued at between £23,000 and £55,000 from BASF Metal Recycling Ltd of Forest Vale Industrial Estate, Cinderford, on October 18, 2017.

Kieran Davenport, 21, of Northwick Road, Evesham was given a 12 month jail term for the same offence.

The fourth man in the gang, Connor Maguire, remained at large during last year's court proceedings but was finally arrested last weekend.

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At Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday Maguire, 25, of Drovers Green, Droitwich, pleaded guilty to his part in the theft of precious metal from the Forest of Dean company.

Tim Burrows defending said: “Maguire was originally released under investigation in 2017, but moved from his St George’s Lane North, Worcester address a short while later.

“He was not friends with his co-defendants but was offered some money to pick up some bags and he wasn’t in a position where he could say no.”

Maguire told the court: “I never knew anything about the original hearing.

"I tried to tell the police I had moved, but they told me I was not on the system.”

Cathy Thornton, prosecuting, explained that the offence took place over a number of hours with four people involved.

She added that the four men dispersed after being disrupted but they come back later to finish what they had started.

“It was a very amateurish attempt to steal the bagged items,” Ms Thornton said.

District Judge Joanna Dickens bailed Maguire. He will be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on May 7.