A MAN has been cleared of breaking into a derelict school building in Bideford and stealing £5,000 worth of copper.
Simeon Chami, 33, was prosecuted after a trace of his blood was found on a cistern at the Kingsley School in Bideford shortly after a large quantity of metal was stolen.
The prosecution dropped the case after inquiries showed it was unlikely that copper he sold at a North Devon scrap yard a few days later had come from the raid.
Chami, of Thornton Close, Bideford, denied burglary and the case was dismissed by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, at Exeter Crown Court when the prosecution offered no evidence.
Alex Allsop, for the prosecution, said: "The file has been reviewed and it has been decided not to proceed. The crux of the prosecution case was that his blood was found on a toilet cistern at the Kiltrasna Centre at Kingsley School.
"A burglary took place in the building, which is redundant, and in the grounds of the school where a caretaker discovered the loss of £5,000 worth of copper piping in June.
"Chami sold items of metal including copper but the amount was not nearly as great as that stolen and we are not able to say exactly what he sold. The blood smear found on the cistern was also in a different part of the building from that where the copper was taken."
Richard Crabb, for the defence, asked for Chami to be paid the cost of coming to court in Exeter for the hearing.