Two men who attempted to break into Motspur Park sports grounds had their plans scuppered after a quick thinking probationary officer found a warm angle grinder hidden in their getaway van.

Michael Da Silva, 34, of Carshalton, and Daniel Waters, 30, of Wallington, were both found guilty of criminal damage when they appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, August 3. Da Silva and Waters were caught by PC Sebastian Ellis and new PC David Masters as they were leaving New Malden’s Motspur Park sports ground in a van on July 5, after a member of the public reported suspicious behaviour.

Inspector Steven Billington, head of Kingston’s five rapid response teams, said: “We are grateful an eagle-eyed member of the public spotted the two men and alerted us, allowing PC Masters to make an excellent first arrest.”

Police were told two men had attempted to cut through padlock chains at the former BBC sports ground, in Seaforth Avenue, with an angle grinder.

On arriving at Motspur Park officers Ellis and Masters spotted the pair making off in a van and pulled them over before searching the vehicle and uncovering the angle grinder in a hidden compartment under the passenger seat. The men were initially charged with criminal damage and going equipped, but after appearing at court the going equipped charge was dismissed. Waters was fined £325 and Da Silva £563, including court costs and victim compensation.