Sunderland B&Q burglars said they were hunting for crabs when caught
Two burglars gave a fishy excuse when caught red handed after breaking into a Sunderland B&Q store.
Leslie Podd, 44, and Ryan Robinson, 38, were nabbed in woods by the River Wear, near the Trimdon Street outlet.
When collared on Saturday, May 1, they told police they were hunting for peeler crabs at the time of the burglary.
But officers did not take the bait – and they were charged with pinching £1,140 of power drills.
Despite the weight of evidence, Podd, of Blind Lane, Silksworth, and Robinson, of Tower Street West, Hendon, denied involvement.
They took their case to trial on Friday, September 3, but magistrates found them guilty.
Sentencing them at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Deputy District Judge Gary Garland jailed Podd for eight weeks and Robinson for six weeks.
However, they walked free, having served equivalent prison time on a stringent stay-at-home overnight curfew since their arrest.
Judge Garland questioned why they had denied the charge of non-dwelling burglary when the evidence pointed to their guilt.
He said: “Burglary at any time is a bad business, but in this particular case, you were caught red handed.
“You decided to bluff your way out at a trial which you were doomed to lose.”
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “They were caught on CCTV. Two males were seen going along the riverside. Police arrived.
“Podd said that they were looking for peeler crabs for fish bait.
“They saw the blue lights of the police cars and decided to hide in the woods.”
The court heard Podd has several criminal convictions in the past decade but Robinson none.
Richard Copsey, defending, said both men had endured a tough four-month curfew.
Judge Garland ordered Podd to pay compensation of £400 and Robinson £300 to B&Q, and both must hand over £100 court costs.