Heartless burglar caught red-handed after breaking into bar & attempting to steal alcohol - and charity box cash
28 Jul | 12:40

Alan Clarke, 45, is due to be sentenced next month after the break-in at Chaplin's Bar in Sunderland

A heartless burglar was caught red-handed by cops after smashing his way into a city centre bar and attempting to steal alcohol - and cash from a charity box.

Alan Clarke smashed the window of Chaplin’s Bar in Sunderland using a brick in the early hours of July 19 before climbing into the premises in the dead of night.

Once inside, he left a trail of destruction – swiping bottles of alcohol and spirits, damaging the cash tills and even snatching a large quantity of coins from a charity box.

He then tipped over one of the gaming machines and tried to force it open before the bar’s owner was made aware of the break-in.

Police soon swooped on the premises and found Clarke, 45, inside – having pocketed the cash and bagged up bottles of alcohol. He was also found in possession of a Stanley knife and a quantity of cocaine.

Clarke, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary, possession of a pointed article and possession of cocaine when he appeared before magistrates in South Tyneside on July 20.

He is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month.

Detective Sergeant Andy Roper, of Northumbria Police’s Southern Burglary Team, said: “Alan Clarke caused a huge amount of damage and destruction when he smashed his way into a city centre bar for purely selfish means.

“He showed a total disregard for both the law and the livelihood of the owner, racking up hundreds of pounds worth of damage in a cynical bid to steal alcohol and money.

“Clarke even had the audacity to steal coins from a charity box – his behaviour is absolutely appalling and he should be ashamed of his actions.

“Many business owners have faced a difficult few months due to lockdown restrictions but are now back open and working hard to provide a safe and relaxed environment for customers to enjoy.

“It is therefore especially disappointing that Clarke made the decision to carry out this disgraceful offence, at a time when the rest of the city are pulling together and showing the community spirit that this region is famed for.”

In a statement, the victim revealed the damage caused by Clarke to the window, games machine and till – as well as the alcohol which he had consumed – was worth approximately £2,000.

Clarke was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on August 17.


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