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Bungling Tooley Street thieves jailed

Two hapless thieves whose loot fell out of the back of a getaway van in Tooley Street have been jailed for their part in the theft of £13,500 worth of railway machinery from London Bridge.

One of the generators stolen from railway premises
One of the generators stolen from railway premises at London Bridge
Charles Christopher O'Donoghue and Michael Boyle
Charles Christopher O'Donoghue and Michael Boyle

Charles Christopher O'Donoghue, 32, of no fixed abode, and Michael Boyle, 50, of Aldgate, faced Southwark Crown Court on Monday charged with theft and attempted theft.

The pair were today sentenced to 36 weeks jail for their crimes. O'Donoghue was also ordered to serve an additional 20 weeks as part of a previous suspended sentence.

The convictions relate to the theft of three lighting generators from railway premises at London Bridge in March 2007.

"If they had a plan it was poorly executed and ultimately led to them being arrested," says PC Steve Maguire of the British Transport Police.

"CCTV showed the pair entered railway premises at London Bridge on Sunday, March 25, where they parked a white transit van. They attempted to lift a generator into the back of the van, but were unable to because of the sheer weight of them.

"The following day the pair returned with a makeshift ramp, which almost collapsed under the weight of the machinery. They managed to get the machinery into the van before they fled from the depot."

But PC Maguire says that the ramp that was used to assist in their crime proved their ultimate undoing after it became jammed in one of the rear doors, preventing them from locking properly.

"As the van drove off one of generators fell out of the back and onto the middle of Tooley Street. Two officers in a marked police car were sitting in a line of traffic and heard the noise. When they went to investigate they discovered the generator in the middle of the road and the occupants gone."

PC Maguire said after studying CCTV and taking forensic evidence from the van, Boyle and O'Donoghue were arrested and later charged with the offences.

"This was a serious offence which could have resulted in potential injury to members of the public. It was a sheer matter of luck that the generator, which weighs up to a tonne, did not fall onto a passing pedestrian or vehicle."

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