A SOMERSET family has benefited from a welcome delivery of free firewood after a man was caught stealing a fallen tree from the roadside.
The offender was tracked down by Wincanton police after his number plate was taken by a passing motorist as he loaded timber on a trailer beside the A359 near Bruton on Sunday 27th January.
The tree had been taken down as a precaution during last month’s heavy snowfall and was left on farmland at the roadside.
Police found the offender and the firewood at an address in Bruton and offered him the option of restorative justice rather than legal proceedings.
Following a meeting with the landowner the same day, the offender agreed to finish sawing and splitting the firewood and deliver it to a deserving local family.
“This person thought the tree was fair game but it was on my side of the fence. I’m sure he will think twice about doing it again,” the landowner said.
“Getting the timber back was not the point. The important thing is that justice was done quickly and effectively. It cost next to nothing and there was no resentment.
“It’s going back to what our grandfathers would have done and should be more widely deployed. I am glad that local police are picking up on it.”
PCSO Sara Stephenson said: “The use of restorative justice in this incident was extremely effective.
“The incident was reported to us on a Sunday lunchtime and in just over an hour from that time the victim was able to see the offender, speak with the offender and see the logs delivered to a worthy family in the area.
“This process means that the offender has not got away with stealing the wood but has not incurred a criminal record. It was a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.”