A BURGLAR raided building sites across Oxfordshire for ovens and boilers.

Stuart Milne, 37, was yesterday warned that he would face up to two years behind bars for conspiracy to burgle. His brother, Nathan, had already been jailed for his part in the plot.

The Northamptonshire man had been due to stand trial at Oxford Crown Court this week on the single conspiracy charge.

But he was unable to attend court as he developed coronavirus symptoms and was ordered to take a test.

Milne’s brief, Michael Haggar, asked the judge to give an indication – called a Goodyear – of the likely sentence his client would receive if he pleaded guilty.

After Judge Michael Gledhill QC said he would impose no more than two years’ imprisonment, Milne, of Glendon Road, Kettering, and who appeared in court via video link from home, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

Prosecutor Edward Culver told the court that Stuart and Nathan Milne had planned and executed 13 break-ins on four building sites in the county in July and August 2018.

The four companies’ sites targeted by the brothers were: Deanfield Homes in Ducklington, Cala Homes in Long Hanborough, Davidsons Homes, Duke’s Meadow Drive, Banbury, and a Redrow Homes site near Tyrrell Road, Banbury.

The burglaries left the builders’ constructing the new build homes almost £45,000 out of pocket. The brothers mostly took ovens and boilers from the properties.

Mr Culver said the brothers deliberately targeted the sites and the night time raids required an element of planning.

However, he said Stuart Milne did not play as big a part in the conspiracy as his brother. Nathan Milne’s phone showed he was selling the items stolen in the burglaries. The defendant also had fewer previous convictions, with 25 offences on his record compared to almost 150 on his brother’s list.

Mr Haggar asked the judge to consider adjourning for a pre-sentence report. His client had a fiancée and supported her two young children. The offending dated back almost three years, he said.

Judge Gledhill refused the application, saying: “I don’t see there is anything the probation service can tell me that you cannot tell me.”

Milne was bailed to come to the crown court today, when he will be sentenced. The sentence will be adjourned if the coronavirus test comes back positive.

Nathan Milne, five years his brother’s senior, was jailed for two years at an earlier hearing.

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For news updates straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on news@nqo.com or 01865 425 445.