Bungling bur­glar tried to hide safe in a wheelie bin

The Chronicle - - News -

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

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