A SERIAL burglar who targeted a launderette-turned-gig venue is behind bars.
The Old Cinema Launderette in Durham hosts evening shows after the shop has finished its business for the day.
But its bosses were dealt a blow after the front window was smashed and thief Peter Winter made off with the shop’s till – which was empty.
He was jailed for two years and six months at Durham Crown Court last week after pleading guilty to the burglary.
The court was told the till was found in the garden of a house in which Winter was living at the time, damaged beyond repair, after the break-in on Saturday, July 12.
Kathy Turner, who runs the business with husband Richard, a mental health nurse, has been left out of pocket by the burglar, who caused £534 of damage.
Speaking to the Echo after the hearing, Richard, 52, said: “We both work very hard to make the business a success. Kath particularly often works 12 hours a day.
“She was particularly devastated by the burglary.
“We have tried to make the street look good and take pride in the appearance of the launderette.
“We feel part of the area and have been really supported by people from Gilesgate and Sherburn Road.
“We named and shamed Winter by putting a poster outside the launderette, which got 10,000 views of it on Facebook.
“Whilst we are not normally the naming and shaming type, what we got from this is that normal hard-working people from the area don’t want thieves disrupting their lives.
“We feel proud to be part of the local economy, and this will not deter us.
“Winter is behind bars, and we can sleep safely in our beds, knowing he is having full board at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, and he can leave us to wash in peace.”
Supporters have rallied round the couple, and musicians even offered to perform for free to help cover the cost of the damage.
However, the Turners have decided to hold a fund-raising gig for homeless charity Centrepoint at the launderette, which during its days as a cinema was known as The Crescent then The Rex.
The court was told Winter, of High Street North, Langley Moor, has a long record for burglary and his latest offence put him in breach of a suspended prison sentence for another break-in, which was imposed only weeks before the latest incident.
Yvonne Taylor, mitigating, told the court that Winter had shown “genuine remorse”.
She said he was generally a good family man, but becomes “a different person” when under the influence of drink and drugs.