Burnley thief went back to scene of crime when police were there

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A shop thief was caught when he went back in just hours later, at the very moment police were there viewing CCTV of the crime, a court heard.

Robert Wallace was collared as soon as he returned to the store at Kitchens Garage in Burnley. He was wearing the same, easily-recognisable outfit of blue top and blue and yellow shorts he had had on earlier when he had been caught on camera walking out with a haul of drink and food.

The jobless 28-year-old, who has a record, demanded: ”Show me the CCTV then." He was annoyed he was being accused of shoplifting and told the manager: "I will knock your head off.” Wallace was handcuffed and arrested, the town’s magistrates were told.

Mrs Philippa White (prosecuting) told the hearing that just after 9-30am, a man walked out of the store with a basket and it’s contents and made off with the goods.

She continued: "At about 2-35pm, he returned to the store, which coincided with a police officer attending to obtain CCTV from the morning incident. He was identified by the distinctive clothes he was wearing. He became increasingly aggressive, refused to provide any details and was irate.

"The defendant was taken to the police station and interviewed. He fully admitted the theft and said a friend had asked him to take the basket of items. He had no money.”

Mr Mark Williams (defending) said: "A friend ran out of drink and told him to go into the store, put some stuff in a basket and come out with it.”

The court was told Wallace already owed fines of nearly £300, which were being deducted from his benefits. He was in breach of a conditional discharge.

Wallace, of Sandhurst Street, Burnley, admitted stealing two bottles of wine, a sandwich and a newspaper, to the value of between £35 and £40, on August 4th. He was fined £80 and was ordered to pay £35 compensation.