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Graveyard scrap metal thief caged 18 months with hard labour

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The Ndola Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a 30 year old man of Chifubu to 18 months in jail with hard labour for criminal trespass on burial sites.

The convict was caught removing metal name plates from grave yards, supposedly with intention to sell them.

This however, follows a number of thefts involving metals on the Copperbelt province, which criminals remove and sell to scrap metal dealers.

Apparently, Richard Sakambongo of Chifubu Township in Ndola was nabbed and charged with criminal trespass on burial places after he was caught removing the metal name plates from Kawama cementry.

It is the state’s case that on march 15, this year, in Ndola with intent to wound the feelings of Tom Tepa, Sakambongo unlawfully trespassed on the burial site at Kawama cemetery.

Public prosecutor John Simagesi told Court that on the material day around 14:00 hours, Tepa and his friends went to Kawama Cemetery to clean at their relative’s grave yard and when they reached they noticed that the grave metal post put on their relative was missing.

Simagesi said later the family saw a man running with a sack on his back.

“They quickly realised the reason the man was running away with a sack on his back so they gave him a chase and apprehended him,” he said.

Simagesi said when the relatives of the deceased checked the contents of the sack, they found a lot of grave metal posts.

“This made them apprehend the man, who they later came to know as Richard Sakambongo, they later took him to Chifubu police station, where they reported the matter and handed over him and a sack full of various grave metal posts which include one for their relatives,” he said.

And upon his own admission of guilt, Ndola Chief resident magistrate Davies Chibwili convicted Sakambongo.

In his mitigation, Sakambongo pleaded for leniency as he was a married man and father of two.

“I regret what I did and if given a chance I will not behave the way I did,” he said.

Magistrate Chibwili sentenced to 18 months imprisonment with hard stating that the offences of stealing metal have become common and hence the need to send a correct signal to would be offenders.

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