A hungry burglar was caught on camera bringing the ceiling down as he tried to escape from a pizza shop, a court heard today.
Confused heroin and crack addict Mark Powell, 32, got into the takeaway in Stockton, Teesside, in May, and caused £3,000 damage trying to get out again.
His hopeless escapade was caught on CCTV and police swiftly recognised the prolific thief and arrested him soon after, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Recorder James Goss declined to watch the CCTV evidence, but appeared to smile as he looked at still photographs of Powell's intoxicated attempt to climb onto the counter and up through the hole in the ceiling.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said: "This is one of those cases where seeing is not necessarily believing the ineptitude of what went on that particular night."
Powell, a father of two children, with two step-children and a baby on the way, broke into Angelo's Pizza Shop in Norton Road via an upstairs flat.
He managed to get in through the ceiling, and stole £50 in coins, though he found nothing to eat.
But the blundering burglar could not escape so easily.
Sharon Elves, prosecuting, said: "He managed to bring the whole ceiling down on him at one point."
Mr Constantine said: "There was attempt after attempt to get on the counter, stand up on top of a sign and get back through the ceiling.
"The sign can be seen crashing down, followed by Mr Powell.
"Your Honour can see the state of intoxication that he must have been in.
"He climbs over the counter time after time, on each occasion there is a resounding bang as he hits his head on the sign.
"Then the whole lot comes crashing down."
At one point Powell, growing frustrated, paced between the shop walls, seemingly hoping they would open up, Mr Constantine said.
Powell, of Newton Walk, Stockton, admitted burglary at a previous hearing.
The judge gave him a 16-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and told him prison was inevitable if he reoffended.
Powell said: "I'm going to sort myself out."
As he walked out he said: "Have a nice day Your Honour."
Outside court Powell was contrite, saying he could barely remember breaking in to the shop.
He said: "I was arguing with my partner and she kicked me out.
"I took a handful of diazepam, I was out of my bloody head.
"Trying to get out again hurt and I caused all that damage.
"It all kept falling in on me.
"I was hungry and I think that's what I did with the money after – I went to McDonalds."
The prolific thief, who has been in trouble since he was 15, said: "I've been in and out of prison like a yoyo.
"I want to become a Born Again Christian."
Tags: £3, 000 damage, burglar, thief, theft, drug addict, caught, intoxication, steal, cam, tape, cctv, cops, police, sentence, court, security, surveillance, destroy, ceiling, pizza shop
Location: Stockton, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
Marked as: featured
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