Sunderland criminal told police he found torch, hat, pliers and clown's mask

A dad wearing a clown mask was rumbled by police as he tried to take wood in the early hours from a closed Sunderland pub to use on his garden fire, a court heard.

Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 12:01 pm

Nikki Anderson, 36, of Brinkburn Street, High Barnes, Sunderland, walked towards officers with his face covered by the disguise in the grounds of nearby Chesters pub, in Chester Road.

He insisted he had found the mask – as well as a torch, hat and pliers – in a skip at the boozer, which was shut for renovations during his escapade on Monday, June 22.

Anderson, who pleaded guilty to being found in enclosed premises, confessed he had intended to use the discarded wood to heat his home fire pit.

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Nikki Anderson was detained in the grounds of The Chesters, in Chester Road, Sunderland.

Prosecutor Kirstie Devine told South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “Police receive a call that a male is trying to enter a pub that’s closed for renovations.

“They find him with a clown’s mask, pliers, a hat and a torch. He said that he was looking for firewood.”

Ian Cassidy, defending, said: “He says that he lived very close to the pub and that it was closed at the time.

“A skip was filled with wood and he had a fire pit in his garden. He’d had a few drinks and thought that he’d take the wood.

“That was the unlawful purpose for which he was on enclosed premises.

“He didn’t go there with the mask, someone had dumped some items.

“It seems ridiculous, but he went towards the police with the mask on. He wasn’t kitted-up to go equipped.”

Mr Cassidy added: “He has said, ‘I accept everything that was said. It was a stupid thing to have done.”

“He’s not currently in work. He has a three-year-old daughter and lives with his partner.”

The court heard Anderson had 22 previous convictions for 34 offences and was last before the court in May 2019, following a six-year clean slate.

Addressing magistrates, Anderson said: “It was stupid, a moment of madness.”

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and must pay £85 court costs and a £22 victim surcharge.

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