Two serial crooks who raided a pub and got away with almost £3,000 from a games machine and the till have been jailed.
Paul Hecker and William Stamper – who have over 200 offences on their records between them – hit the Princess Helena, in Whitby Street, Hartlepool, when they targeted a weekend’s takings.
No doubt you expected to find considerable amounts of cash... before staff had the opportunity to bank itRecorder Jonathan Sandiford
They smashed their way in during the middle of the night by breaking a window with a hammer and grabbed £2,475 from the tills and £350 from a gaming machine.
Teesside Crown Court heard the money has not been recovered. They also caused £970 damage. Hecker, 34, was arrested after police found his DNA from blood left at the scene after cutting himself.
Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, said: “CCTV showed two men approached a side window and smash it with a mallet or something of that nature and entry was gained to the property.
“The man who smashed the window, Stamper, went and broke into the gaming machine. The other man went to the till area.”
The landlady was alerted when Stamper and Hecker set off the pub’s burglar alarm, but they had fled when she arrived just after 3am on June 1.
The court heard the pair also took along mail bags to shield them from breaking glass when they broke in and to take away the cash.
Heroin-user Stamper, 31, of Ivy Grove, Hartlepool, who was high on tablets when he committed the burglary, has been in court 58 times and racked up 105 offences on his record.
Hecker, a dad-of-four, of Osborne Road, Hartlepool, has 140 previous crimes for 65 court appearances.
Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said he had fallen back into taking drugs after coming out of prison when he was jailed for four years for supplying heroin. Speaking for both men, Mr Scarborough said: “Both accept full responsibility for their part. They do both show genuine remorse.”
Both men were jailed for one year after previously pleading guilty to the burglary.
Sentencing, Recorder Jonathan Sandiford said: “It hasn’t escaped my notice this was a Monday morning.
“It was after the weekend when no doubt you expected to find considerable amounts of cash in this public house, the weekend’s takings, before staff had the opportunity to bank it on Monday morning.
“It seems to me this was a semi-professional burglary by you two who both have extensive previous convictions for doing similar offences.”