Sunderland Greggs raider caught on video as he tried to steal safe

John Ramsay was jailed for 12 months for burgling Greggs in Pennywell.
John Ramsay was jailed for 12 months for burgling Greggs in Pennywell.

A burglar is behind bars after a passer-by filmed a £10,000 Greggs raid while it was in progress and sent the footage to police.

Window cleaner John Ramsay, 37, and a hooded accomplice who has never been caught, smashed their way into the baker’s shop in Pennywell, Sunderland, in the early hours of September 7.

Library pictures

Library pictures

They intended to steal the safe, but ended up causing £10,000 of loss and damage.

Father-of-five Ramsay is now starting a prison sentence after a quick-thinking passer-by realised what was happening and filmed the raid on his mobile phone.

The witness has been awarded £100 by a judge for his efforts.

Newcastle Crown Court heard when the raiders got inside the shop and realised the safe was encased in concrete and could not be moved, despite their attempts to dig it out, they settled for stealing a coffee machine and some snacks.

Before they left, they tried to remove a CCTV system and its hard-drive, which was embedded in the ceiling, in a bid to conceal their identities.

When that proved impossible, the raiders let off the fire extinguishers inside the shop.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “A member of the public who was outside saw them and immediately realised they were up to no good.

“He took some videos on his mobile phone and sent them to the police.”

The court heard Ramsay is a “prolific criminal” who was easily identified from the passer-by’s videos and CCTV footage.

His accomplice, who kept his hood up throughout, could not be seen clearly, and has not been caught.

Ramsay, of Galashiels Square, Grindon, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary, and Mr Recorder William Lowe QC sentenced him to 12 months behind bars.

The judge told him: “In total, £10,000 worth of damage was caused to the premises.

“I accept Greggs is a substantial organisation, but they exist to provide profit and to provide employment all over the country.”

The judge said the passer-by who shot the footage of the raid should be awarded £100 from public funds.

He added: “He acted in a very public-spirited manner.

“He was very alert that morning, before dawn broke in Sunderland.

“He took photographs which enabled this defendant to be brought to justice, which he copied onto a disc and supplied to the police.

“I ask that the thanks of the court be conveyed to him.”

Barry Robson, defending, said Ramsay has offered to help police get back the coffee machine and boiler that went with it.

He said it was the accomplice who caused damage to the roof by trying to remove the CCTV hard-drive, but Ramsay accepts he must take joint responsibility.

Mr Robson added the men took no tools with them when they carried out the raid and had used knives they found inside the shop to try to dig away the concrete around the safe.

Acting Chief Inspector Jamie Southwell said after the hearing: “Information we receive from members of the public is absolutely crucial in our enquiries.

“Often it can the key bit of information that helps secure a sucessful conviction, and we would always ask anyone who witnesses a crime and takes any footage or photographs to come forward with this.”