Drug debt led former security man to steal

Have your say

A GREAT-GRANDFATHER who was once a bouncer to the stars turned to burglary after running up drugs debts.

Michael Cottrell broke into the Grindon Mill pub in Sunderland and stole alcohol worth more than £600, the city’s magistrates court heard.

The bench heard the 53-year-old, formerly of London, had moved to Pennywell with his partner and was a step-parent to her children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He was forced to give up his job when doctors discovered he may have cancer following an injury at work.

A probation officer told the court Cottrell had looked after high-profile celebrities when in the security industry.

He had a criminal record up to 1988 and had been imprisoned, but up until the break-in had led a crime-free life following his last term in jail.

A £100-a-week cannabis habit saw Cottrell, of Prestbury Road, end up £60 in debt to a dealer, and in desperation forced a door at the pub on April 29.

Joanne Gatens, mitigating, said Cotrell, who admitted the burglary, suffered from a series of health concerns.

Bench chairman Hilary Malik told him to carry out a 12 month community order and pay £610 compensation.