Bungling burglar tried to hide safe in a wheelie bin
Reporter A HAPLESS thief is facing jail after being caught burgling a Newcastle shop and trying to hide a stolen safe in a wheelie bin.
Bungling David Potts and an accomplice broke into MA Brothers food store, on Elswick Road, Elswick, in the early hours of the morning and searched the property for things to steal.
The pair decided to take a safe, containing up to £20,000 cash, and hid it in a nearby wheelie bin while they tried to make good their escape, a court heard.
But the dozy duo had activated a “silent alarm”, which was being remotely monitored by a security company, and they were caught in the act by police at around 2.40am on Sunday, July 8.
And while the accomplice tried to make off on foot, Potts was forced to admit defeat and stay behind as his leg was in a plaster cast after an earlier accident where he’d fallen through some decking, magistrates heard.
Now, Potts, 50, of Hawthorn Place, Elswick, has been warned he faces a possible prison sentence to add to his criminal career after he pleaded guilty to one count of non-dwelling burglary.
James Long, prosecuting at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, said that Potts already had 125 past offences to his name when he and another man targeted the MA Brothers store on July 8.
The alarm company for the shop contacted police at around 2.40am to alert them that intruders had entered the building via a fire exit.
Mr Long said: “The police attended quickly and two males were seen standing at the fire exit door.
“One male ran away. One officer detained the male who stopped at the fire door – that was this defendant.
“The other police officer gives chase to the male who ran away.”
The court was told that the owner of the shop also attended the scene and it was discovered that a “degree of ransacking” had take place and an office window smashed.
Mr Long added: “Police find a blue recycling wheelie bin outside and, within that bin, is a safe, which was normally in a downstairs room in the shop and contained takings.
“The safe had been removed and put in the bin.”
The prosecutor submitted that the magistrates’ powers of sentence were insufficient as it was a “high value burglary” and the case should be committed to the crown court.
Gregg Stephens, mitigating, said Potts hadn’t been the initiator of the burglary but had “stupidly” agreed to act as lookout for his accomplice.
“The safe contained the takings,” the solicitor added. “It actually hadn’t been entered and it was recovered in the wheelie bin.
“There was no attempt to enter the safe.
“Mr Potts currently has a big pot on his ankle because he fell through some decking recently. He was therefore not in a position to run and he said to the police ‘Oh no, I’m f **** d.’”
Mr Stephens said that Potts’ last burglary was 27 years ago and that he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
Magistrates committed Potts to Newcastle Crown Court for sentence and released him on conditional bail to appear there on August 6.
MA Brothers food store on Elswick Road