Bill Bailey tour bus thief Francis Whittaker jailed

Bill Bailey / Francis Whittaker Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Francis Whittaker (right) took the bus from outside Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, where Bill Bailey appeared in October

A thief who stole comedian Bill Bailey's tour bus from outside a gig in Liverpool has been jailed.

Francis Whittaker, 35, took the bus from outside the city's Philharmonic Hall, where Bailey performed in October as part of a tour.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the vehicle contained merchandise worth £2,400 and the comedian's personal belongings.

Whittaker was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to burglary and two charges of vehicle theft.

CCTV footage showed two men entering the theatre through a fire door, before Whittaker was seen leaving and driving off in the van, the court heard.

An Apple laptop was also taken from inside the building.

The Mercedes Sprinter bus was found three days after the theft in a Liverpool suburb with false number plates attached, the court heard.

Whittaker, of The Lynxway, West Derby, was arrested a week later.

He also admitted taking a Vauxhall van containing tools worth £12,000 from outside the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool during an earlier theft in August.

The court heard Whittaker had 42 previous convictions for 84 offences.

Charlotte Pringle, mitigating, said his offending was linked to drug and alcohol issues, which he had tried but failed to address.

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