Petworth horsebox thief’s prison sentence cut on appeal

A teenage scrap metal collector caught in a police sting near Petworth, to stop a spate of horsebox thefts in West Sussex, has had his jail term reduced on appeal.

Karl Leslie Amos was pulled over by officers after stealing a box – which had been fitted with a tracking device – from a layby at Upwaltham in March.

The 19-year-old, of Iver Heath, Bucks, was sentenced to six months and one week at Chichester Crown Court in September, after he admitted theft.

He was also ordered to hand over the van he used to steal the horsebox, which was worth £600 and which he used for his business as a scrap metal collector, the court heard.

But his sentence was cut to five months at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, after top judges said the original term was ‘excessive’.

Lawyers for Amos argued his jail term was ‘too long’, saying the judge did not take enough account of his guilty plea or his youth and the fact he had no relevant previous convictions.

They also said the recent birth of his baby daughter had ‘brought him firmly back to earth’ and he was now keen to be a devoted dad.

Allowing the appeal, Mr Justice Hickinbottom – sitting with Mr Justice Cranston – said the sentence was excessive in the circumstances of the case.

Amos will serve half his new sentence before qualifying for automatic release.