A man sentenced to three and a half years in prison for his part in an attempted burglary at Falmouth's Boslowick Road Post Office took part in a "last ditch attempt" to raise cash to stop his son being adopted.

Dene Tregidgo, age 22, of Esperanza Court in Falmouth, was a member of a group of three people who broke into the Post Office in the early hours of February 18, and attempted to steal safe containing over £20,000 after breaking through a reinforced outer door and a wooden inner door and disabling the alarm and camera systems.

At Truro Crown Court, prosecutor Sally Daulton told Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC that a neighbour was woken by the sounds of scraping and dragging metal.

At 4am they heard a bang from the building and called the police, and upon arrival officers found three men at the back entrance to the shop, including Tregidgo, who was said to have been “kicking a large grey metal safe”.

The three ran off, but Tregidgo stopped and put his hands on his head when he was told that police had a taser.

A large metal breaker bar and a metal wheelbarrow were also found nearby.

The court also heard that Mr Tregidgo told police he had been a lookout when the outer door had been broken, but had been involved in breaking the inner door and disabling the alarms, and that the group had waited an hour after disabling the alarms to see if there was any response.

Paul Gallagher, for the defence, said the break in was a “last ditch attempt” by Tregidgo to raise money for a deposit and rent on a flat to prevent his young son being put up for adoption, as he had been living with his mother but had been asked to leave, and was subsequently “sofa surfing” at the time he committed the crime.

He said, in mitigation, that although the group had planned to break in to the building, they were “ill equipped” for the job and only found the metal pole when hiding on fields after the alarm beeped.

The court was also told that they had not thought about what they would find in the Post Office, and had not planned for the size of the safe, which was so heavy it took six police officers to lift, so one of the group had to go off and find the wheelbarrow.When police arrived, said Mr Gallagher, Tregidgo wasn't kicking the safe but “had his back wedged against the wall, using his feet to push the safe along the ground to tip it into the wheelbarrow.”

He said this showed that while the attempt had taken “some planning”, there had “not been much deep thought.”

Tregidgo was given three and a half years in prison, which included two months of a suspended sentence for fraud which he received five days before the burglary, and was also made to pay a victim surcharge of £120, payable within five years.