Bungling burglar is jailed

Christopher Small
Christopher Small

A PERSISTENT offender who tried to burgle a restaurant and was confronted by the shocked owner has been jailed for three months.

Christopher Small, who has a host of building burglaries on his record, went into the basement of Cafe India in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, to see what he could steal.

The restaurant was plunged into darkness when he flicked a switch and the owner went to investigate.

Joanne Hesse, prosecuting at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, said: “The owner made his way to the basement to investigate and was confronted by this defendant who claimed he was looking for a toilet.

“The owner switched the electricity on and shouted for staff to assist as he was scared for his safety.

“He escorted the defendant through the restaurant which was empty at the time and out the doors.

“The defendant became verbally abusive towards the owner making threats of violence.”

Small also took his top off and said he wanted to fight with the staff.

Police arrived on the scene shortly after and arrested him.

CCTV footage showed Small had gone into the basement after leaving a nearby pub at around midnight on Sunday.

He refused to answer questions put to him in interview.

Justices were told that Small had been given a suspended prison sentence in February for two similar burglaries and was back in court three months later for yobbish behaviour.

Small, of Belk Street, Hartlepool, admitted burglary with intent to steal.

Martin Scarbrough, mitigating, said Small was drunk and could not remember much about the crime.

He said: “He had too much to drink. He can’t really explain what he was going to do, but accepts his guilt.

“There was no physical violence.”

Jailing Small for 12 weeks, chairman of the magistrates’ bench Patricia Hutchison, said: “It is primarily because of your record and recent convictions for similar offences and your further offending in February whilst you were on a community order.”