Hartlepool burglar who left Alice House charity shop staff 'gutted' admits his guilt

A crook who broke into a hospice charity shop through the roof and caused substantial damage has appeared in court.
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David Hadfield, aged 54, has admitted burgling the Alice House Hospice shop in Raby Road, Hartlepool, last July.

He was caught on the shop’s CCTV breaking in through the roof leaving a large hole in the ceiling and significant mess on the shop floor.

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Hadfield made off with money from the till, Teesside Crown Court heard on March 7.

A sign in the window after the Alice House shop in Raby Road, Hartlepool, was burgled. Picture by FRANK REIDA sign in the window after the Alice House shop in Raby Road, Hartlepool, was burgled. Picture by FRANK REID
A sign in the window after the Alice House shop in Raby Road, Hartlepool, was burgled. Picture by FRANK REID

Due to the mess, the shop was forced to close for the day and lost an estimated £600 in takings.

The break-in was discovered early in the morning on July 4 when staff arrived for work and contacted police.

When police and staff reviewed the shop’s CCTV, it showed Hadfield entering through the ceiling and trying to balance on a clothes rack.

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Elisha Marsay, prosecuting, said: "Shortly after entering the building a number of roof tiles fall onto the floor sending dust everywhere.

Alice House Hospice shop manager Barry Smith at the scene of the break-in last July. Picture by FRANK REIDAlice House Hospice shop manager Barry Smith at the scene of the break-in last July. Picture by FRANK REID
Alice House Hospice shop manager Barry Smith at the scene of the break-in last July. Picture by FRANK REID

"It was clear a large part of the suspended ceiling had fallen in causing a significant amount of damage.

"It was also apparent that the till had been tampered with and a float of about £50 had been stolen.”

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At about 9.30am the same morning, staff from the shop spotted Hadfield walking in the street wearing the same clothes he seen in on the CCTV.

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They got in a car and followed him and police arrested him in an alley.

Ms Marsay said the cost to repair the damage was quoted at £1,000 meaning the hospice was out of pocket by £1,650.

Judge Chris Smith said: “It's not just the loss of business to that commercial enterprise, it’s to a charity and that much will have been obvious to the defendant.”

At the time of the burglary, the shop’s manager, Barry Smith, told the Mail: "The volunteers here give their time for free to help run the hospice and we’re all passionate about it.

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"We are all gutted at what has happened. People of the town have commented ‘how low can you go?’”

The case was adjourned for a number of weeks to assess if Hadfield, of Elliott Street, Hartlepool, is suitable for a new intensive supervision sentence in the community being piloted in the area.

He was remanded in custody.