Burglar stole till drawer from Muffin Break in shopping centre after telling security staff it was a computer
A burglar made off with a till drawer from an unguarded Wearside shopping centre cafe by telling security guards it was a computer, a court heard.
But Kevin Ramshaw, 42, was rumbled when staff at Washington’s Galleries grew suspicious and quickly scanned CCTV after he left the premises and headed towards a bus station.
It revealed he had taken the draw, which contained £560 in cash, and two sandwiches, from the Muffin Break outlet, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told.
Although the shop was shut for the night its position on an open thoroughfare meant he was able to access its kitchen area and cut the till’s security cable with scissors found lying nearby.
Magistrates heard staff chased after jobless Ramshaw and detained him until police arrived at around 8.20pm on Friday, January 3.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said: “At about eight o’clock, security staff at the Galleries are on duty and are approached by Mr Ramshaw who wants to get to the west of the centre, but was told it was closed at that time of night.
“He walks off towards the middle of the centre, towards Muffin Break, an open air cafe with a sandwich counter.”
Mr Poppett said at about 8.20pm Ramshaw walked towards a member of staff, pushing an Aldi trolley with the till draw inside.
He added: “They ask him where he got it and he says, ‘It’s a computer, I got it from the computer shop’.
“They check CCTV. The chord for the till was cut. They ran towards the bus station and detain Mr Ramshaw.”
In an interview with the Probation Service, Ramshaw admitted he had taken heroin that day and was “out of it”, the court heard.
The court was told he has 28 previous convictions from 56 offences, including 13 for dishonesty and two burglaries.
Gavin Sword, defending, said: “He’s probably gone in for something to eat and realises that the till was there with rather a lot of money in it.
“Apart from taking the till there was no damage to property. There was certainly no degree of planning, which suggests it was an opportunist offence.
“The scissors were there on the counter, so he didn’t go equipped. It was possibly on impulse, that would probably apply to this case.”
Magistrates sentenced Ramshaw, who pleaded guilty to burglary other than a dwelling, to a 12-month community order with a requirement of 25 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service.
Ramshaw, of Rose Crescent, Burnmoor, must pay £57.80 compensation - £50 for the damage, and £7.80 for the sandwiches – and a £40 fine.