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Swansea Council worker tried to remove 'dangerous' fence to buy headstone for his father's grave

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 17, 2012

A FORMER council worker tricked a colleague into removing metal fencing from a park by telling him it was unsafe — but planned to sell it to pay for a headstone for his late dad.

Mark Aspland, 41, admitted attempted theft after trying to remove ironworks on September 9 belonging to Swansea Council, from fencing running alongside Nicander Parade.

Aspland had told a colleague they had been told to complete the job and the pair, wearing their council T-shirts went along and started cutting through the railings with a hacksaw.

Police were called and Aspland, of Alun Road, Mayhill, told police he had been told to remove the fencing and a metal post which had fallen down and were "jutting out" at a 90 degree angle.

When officers investigated, they found he had not been given permission to remove the fencing.

Both men were arrested, but the second male was released after telling officers he did not know the job had not been ordered by the council.

Aspland told police he thought the railings were loose and dangerous.

"He said the council had failed to remove them and when he had finished work he asked his friend to help him but told the friend it was a late job but not that it was a personal job," prosecutor Julie Anderson told Swansea Magistrates' Court.

"He admitted he was going to cut the metal pole and remove a further stretch of fencing and sell it for cash but said the items he was removing were in a dangerous state and a young child or animal could have hurt themselves and they should have been removed anyway," added Mrs Sullivan.

Aspland said he expected to receive £17 for the metal at a scrap merchants.

Andrew Evans, representing Aspland, said his client did not think the fallen fence had been dealt with adequately.

But he said Aspland "accepted it was not his role to go and take items and he should not sell them on for his own benefit".

He said Aspland, who had worked for the parks department for four years, was no longer employed by the council.

Magistrates fined him £150, told him to pay costs of £100 and a £15 victim surcharge.

No separate penalty was imposed for an offence of failing to attend a previous court appearance.

As he was sentenced Aspland said: "It's still like that now, it's still a danger to the public".

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