Volunteer plundered flags from the Queen's Rolls Royce along with rare docs belonging to Elvis and John Lennon in bizarre theft from Northants club

The Rolls Royce Enthusiasts' Club based at Hunt House in Northamptonshire.
The Rolls Royce Enthusiasts' Club based at Hunt House in Northamptonshire.

A man who stole £25,000 of 'irreplaceable' documents and paraphernalia from a Northamptonshire-based Rolls Royce collection has had his sentencing delayed.

Between December 2014 and February 2015, 32-year-old Richard Hepworth stole a haul of historical documents from the archives of the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts club, which holds thousands of historic documents relating to the prestigious brand at Hunt House in Paulerspury.

He had been volunteering in the vast archives of the club at the time while on bail for another offence of causing death by careless driving.

Hepworth, of Ossett, Yorkshire, appeared at Northampton Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced for the thefts - but the hearing was adjourned after it emerged he may have been suffering from extensive neurological damage when he carried them out.

Opening the case against him, Hannah Whelan said: "These were documents, many of which were completely irreplaceable and many could not be valued because of that."

Members of the enthusiasts club had been noticing items going missing from the archives up until the date Hepworth quit as a volunteer in June, 2015.

The trust launched an internal investigation and Hepworth was eventually arrested in December, 2016.

In his bedroom documents were found relating to a bespoke Rolls Royce ordered by pop icon Elvis Presley and even pages of a document relating to John Lennon's famous multi-coloured 1965 Phantom V.

His family also had an interest in Rolls Royce memorabilia and owned some of the cars, the court heard. Some of the documents stolen, related to cars they owned and others were ripped out of books.

In total 17 items were recovered from his bedroom including flags taken from a Rolls Royce owned by the royal family.

However, judge Adrienne Lucking QC adjourned the sentencing hearing yesterday after reading a doctors report carried out on behalf of the courts.

It found that Hepworth could have been suffering from extensive neurological damage at the time the offences were committed.

He may also have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, both of which could have been the result of a car crash he had been involved in some months prior in which a person died.

Hepworth was later convicted of causing death by careless driving for the incident.

Judge Lucking QC, said: "I am concerned at your state of mind at the time these offences were committed."

She added that it would be unfair and unjust to proceed to sentence without an updated medical report.

He was asked to reappear at Northampton Crown Court on the week commencing August 7.