A TREE surgeon who received stolen fishing tackle worth £1,500 was warned by a judge at Worcester Crown Court he could have been jailed.

Julian Brighton claimed to police that a "lad" from a travellers group just turned up on his doorstep and sold the stolen goods to him for £100.

The tackle, which included nine high-value rods, was stolen from a parked car and Judge Michael Mott said he would have taken a more severe view of the case if Brighton had sold the gear on.

Brighton, 24, of Hanstone Road, Stourport, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of community work and pay £578 court costs. He admitted handling stolen goods.

Trevor Meagan, defending, accepted that Brighton knew the tackle was stolen when he bought it from the traveller. Brighton had chosen trial by jury before changing his plea to guilty.