A SUICIDAL thief who admitted his part in a burglary which saw £30,000 worth of equipment stolen from a car garage was spared jail after trying to take his own life.

When Kieron Milligan, 41, targeted Clacton Car and MoT centre, in Old Road, he left his blood behind at the scene.

He was snared by investigating officers after he tried to sell stolen tools to a cash exchange shop.

Richard Scott, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court, said: “Entry appeared to have been gained by smashing a window at the front of the garage. There were signs of blood at the point of entry.

“An untidy search was conducted of the premises and the alarm system was disabled by ripping it from the wall.

“Something like £30,000 worth of equipment, which was technological and diagnostic equipment, including computers, was stolen.

“£1,800 in cash was also taken.”

Milligan later admitted charges of fraud and burglary but the court accepted he had not acted alone and was the victim of cuckooing - a practice whereby drug dealers take over the home of a user to use as a base of operations.

Daniel Sutter, mitigating, said Milligan, of Haven Road, Colchester, has mental health difficulties.

“He has asked me to relay his remorse. He certainly didn’t intend to make anyone’s life difficult,” he said.

“In the grip of the circumstances he found himself in, he paid rather less attention to others than he did himself.

“The probation report highlights he is possibly schizophrenic.

“He is clearly a man who is not wholly well. He made an attempt on his life and was in hospital on Monday, when this case was originally listed.”

The burglary was carried out in 2017, but due to delays in the investigation the case took almost two years to get to court.

Judge Emma Peters decided to suspend a 12 month prison sentence for two years to allow Milligan to continue the promising steps he has made with the probation service. He must complete a 50 day rehabilitation activity requirement and 120 hours of unpaid work.

She said: “Clacton Car and MOT centre looks like a relatively small business that absolutely requires, as an essential, its tools.

“Had you been here a year ago I would have absolutely no hesitation in sending you to prison.”