A 32-year-old man who began a campaign to sabotage security systems in town centre businesses has been slapped with a £100 fine.
Shane Reed, of Bridge Street, pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one of criminal damage at Swindon magistrates court on Wednesday.
Reed had bungled an attempt to take down the CCTV system at a store in the Brunel Plaza after he was filmed stealing a dummy camera and making off on his pushbike.
At around 6.20am on April 16, footage from nearby cameras captured Reed approaching the store on a silver pushbike, before propping it up against the wall and using it as a makeshift ladder to clamber up to reach the camera, which was not operational.
Security staff at the Brunel Centre saw a man behaving suspiciously on the live feed and challenged him, but he made off on his bike along Wharf Green, carrying the 3kg dummy camera under his arm.
The next week Reed was apprehended on suspicion of theft in relation to the incident, and was also charged with targeting a store on Regent Street just days previously.
At the Co-op in the town centre, cables had been pulled out of a security alarm in the early hours of the morning.
The incident occurred at a similar time in the morning and had been reported just two days previous to the theft of the camera.
PC Nikki Kerr, of the town centre neighbourhood policing team, made the arrest after security staff at the Brunel saw Reed.
She said: “The male has been charged with one count of theft for the CCTV camera.
He has also been identified as being responsible for criminal damage of an alarm at the Co-op, Regent Street, on April 14, and was also charged with that offence.”
Police in the town centre have urged businesses to be vigilant with their security systems and check regularly to see if they have been tampered with.
PC Paul Bezzant, community beat manager, said: “Logically it comes to mind that businesses in the town centre are being targeted.
“The Brunel security staff made an identification, and we were able to apprehend him on that basis.
“Because the offences happened two days apart, and at similar times of day, the individual was charged with both.
“Both occurred just after 6am. The dummy CCTV camera was taken on April 16, and on April 14 the security alarm at the Co-Op was damaged. The cables appear to have been pulled out of the alarm system to disable it.”
Reed was ordered to pay a £100 fine for the theft of one CCTV camera and criminal damage to the alarm, £50 for each offence.
There was no compensation awarded on either count.
No order to pay costs was given on the theft offence, but a victim surcharge of £20 must be paid for the criminal damage committed.