A BURRY Port man who wanted fish for his new garden, stole £10,000 worth of an exotic breed from a town vet.
Dominic Oliver, 22, of Tir Waun, was sentenced to 10 months in prison at Swansea Crown Court, after admitting theft of 14 koi carp, and breaching a suspended sentence.
Ian Ibrahim, prosecuting, said the Station Road vet practice owner, Sebastian Puglisi, noticed on October 14, that some of the fish, kept in a pond at the rear of the building, had gone missing.
"The rear of the practice was surrounded by a high wall and a locked metal gate," he said.
"A week later, on October 22, Mr Puglisi noticed even more fish missing, with nearly half of them gone at this stage. He called the police."
The following day, more fish had gone and a scenes of crime team attended the premises, where they found a footprint.
The court heard Mr Puglisi installed motion-sensitive CCTV that day, and at 3am on October 24, it was activated by a male — the defendant — holding a large net to sweep fish from the pond.
"On the same date, he returned at 6.20am," said Mr Ibrahim.
"Unfortunately for the defendant, the vet had sat in the garden following the earlier activation."
Police were called and arrested Oliver, later attending his home where they found a freshly dug pond in the garden, with the 14 missing koi carp, estimated to be worth between 1,000 and 1,600 each.
"The total value that's been put by the vet is £10,000," said Mr Ibrahim.
The court heard that though all came back alive, some had required treatment for shock and skin conditions.
This had come to a cost of £100. During interview, the defendant told police that he "wanted some fish" for his garden, as he had recently moved to an address in Burry Port.
He had been told about the koi in the practice, and had gone to "have a look" by climbing over the wall.
When he returned, he found a net and bucket on site, and took some home. He returned another six times over five nights.
Ben Blakemore, for Oliver, said his client had a history of problems with drugs.
Recorder Paul Lewis described the theft as pre-meditated and entirely for Oliver's own gain.
Speaking about his previous avoidance of custody, he said: "Your luck has run out."
He sentenced Oliver to six months in prison for the breach of a suspended sentence and a further four months, to run consecutively, for theft of the koi carp.
He also imposed a victim surcharge of £100.