Royal Marines Band Service musician jailed for instrument theft

image copyrightEPA
image captionAdrian Higginson stole 13 instruments and an amplifier from the Royal Marines Band Service (pictured at Buckingham Palace in August)

A Royal Marines musician who stole instruments worth more than £19,000 from his military band has been jailed and thrown out of the forces.

Adrian Higginson, 29, pleaded guilty to two charges of theft from Royal Marines store rooms in Plymouth and Portsmouth, where he had been based.

Higginson admitted stealing 13 instruments and an amplifier he sold to pay off personal debts of £15,000.

He has been jailed by a court martial for six months.

Higginson, who plays euphonium and cello, was sentenced at Portsmouth Naval Base and will serve his time in a military prison.

'Premeditated dishonesty'

The court heard he stole the amplifier, along with eight saxophones, two clarinets, a cornet, and a horn, from the Ministry of Defence while serving with the Royal Marines Band Service.

He also stole a fellow bandsman's slide trumpet, which was later recovered, along with a cornet and the amplifier.

Higginson committed the offences between March 2015 and August 2016.

As he sentenced him, Judge Alistair McGrigor told him: "For a musician, their instrument is operational equipment and their loss would have the potential to impact on their operational effectiveness.

"This was a long-term and premeditated dishonesty albeit an unsophisticated one."

The court heard the theft was uncovered when a senior member of the band was informed suspicious items were being sold on eBay by the defendant.

Rob Bryan, defending, said his client's financial gain was not used "to indulge in some extravagant lifestyle", such as "fast cars or women".

"He did something that was not only incredibly foolish but was something that was and is wholly out of character," he added.

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