Great Britain

Burglar smashed up fruit machines with hammer to steal cash from Hartlepool pub

A BURGLAR caused thousands of pounds worth of damage when he smashed up two slot machines during a pub break-in.

Stephen Reed and an unknown accomplice targeted Rosie O'Grady's on Hartlepool marina in the early hours of the morning.

Teesside Crown Court heard how CCTV footage showed Reed and his partner kick out a door panel before entering the pub and using hammers to smash open the slot machines and steal the money inside.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said the raid happened in the early hours of the morning on December 29, the pub's busiest time of the year.

The court heard how the defendant also wanted another commercial burglary to be taken into account after he admitted breaking into a shop in Hartlepool by removing tiles from the roof and stealing cigarettes.

Mr Hadfield said: "He broke in with his accomplice at just on 4.15am in the morning, he did that by kicking open the bottom panel of the entrance door. The defendant and his accomplice then went into the pub and in sequence they attacked both fruit machines, the defendant was carrying a hammer and they were both wearing gloves.

"Essentially, what they do is completely destroy both fruit machines to get to the piece of the fruit machine where the money is help from being put in the slots."

He told the court that Reed caused more than £2,450 damage to the business.

The 46-year-old, of Church Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to both commercial burglaries and failing to surrender to bail

In mitigation, Stephen Constantine said his client had been struggling with mental health issues when he carried out the burglaries and urged the judge to pass as short a sentence as possible.

Judge Paul Watson QC jailed Reed for 12 months for the burglaries and passed a two month concurrent sentence for the bail offence.

The judge said the defendant had a long history of commercial burglary but not in recent years.

In this case, he said: "It was plainly not only a determined but clearly pre-planned operation, you were tooled up with hammer and gloves, and you wrecked the two fruit machines to steal whatever you could and the affect on the pub owner has been quite frankly devastating."

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