A burglar who took part in a £8,500 pharmacy raid during an early hours power cut has been spared jail.
Raiders took advantage of a power cut, which triggered multiple alarms, to smash their way into the Million Pharmacy, in Hylton Road, Sunderland, in the early hours of November 6, and make off with a cocktail of controlled medication, including five litres of methadone, a heroin substitute.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the chemist boss had been alerted that the alarm at his premises had sounded but was aware of the power issue and had been told by workmen it had caused problems with security systems.
The court heard the owner drove past the shop but saw no damage so assumed the alarm had tripped as a result of the blackout.
It was only when staff arrived to open the shop the next morning that they realised a rear door had been forced.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court controlled drug cabinets had been forced open and emptied, medication had been taken from shelves, three lap tops, a safe containing up to £300 and a day’s worth of takings had been stolen.
Ryan Neil, 33, of Hylton Road, Sunderland, was identified from cctv footage of the raid.
Mr Bunch added: “The mask worn by this defendant dropped down on a number of occasions, enabling him to be identified.”
Police also found some of the stolen medication Neil’s nearby home when he was arrested.
Neil pleaded guilty to burglary and driving while over the limit for drugs on two separate occasions in the weeks before the break-in.
Judge Robert Spragg sentenced him to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with drug rehabilitation, curfew requirements and a three year road ban.