Sunderland social club burglar spared jail after stealing booze and cancer charity tin
A serial burglar who left bloodstains at the scene of a social club he raided for a second time has kept his freedom.
Karl Hogg smashed a window at the Comrades club in Houghton, knocked over a bandit machine and helped himself to bottles of whiskey, vodka, gin, brandy and Brown Ale.
He also took a charity box containing cash donated by customers for MacMillan cancer support.
At the time, the 32-year-old was out on licence after serving a prison sentence for an earlier commercial break-in and has eight convictions for burglary, including a previous raid at the same social club.
Prosecutor Emma Hughes told Newcastle Crown Court the manager of the Comrades club had been informed of an alarm activation at the premises at shortly after 1am on January 1.
Miss Hughes said: "She attended at 1.15am and upon arrival saw the downstairs ladies toilet window was smashed.
"The bandit was left face down on the floor.
"Blood was on various surfaces and the floor. The blood was tested and found to be a match to the defendant."
Miss Hughes told the court Hogg had burgled the same club in December 2018 and served a prison sentence for it.
She added: "This is the second time the defendant has burgled the Comrades club in Houghton.
"During the coronavirus pandemic it is widely known public houses are suffering significantly."
Hogg, of Sunderland Street, Houghton, admitted burglary.
Lauren Hartley, defending, said the club was not deliberately targeted and Hogg committed the latest raid "on impulse" after an argument with his partner and it was unsophisticated and opportunistic.
Miss Hartley said since the offence Hogg, who has cut down his alcohol intake, has since started a business venture as a plasterer and would lose clients if he went to prison.
Mr Recorder Toby Hedworth QC sentenced Hogg to 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with a four month curfew and an order to pay £200 compensation.
The court heard £100 compensation will go to the Comrades Club and £100 to the cancer charity.
The judge said: "If he's putting his life straight by keeping himself in employment that, I think, is to everyone's advantage.
"I don't want to mess that up."
The judge warned Hogg: "This is your choice, if you want to take the opportunity the court is giving you to keep out of trouble and work hard, you won't hear anything more about it.
"If you throw this back in the court's face, it's straight off to prison."
Detective Sergeant Chris Raper-Smith said: “Karl Hogg is a serial burglar who has brought misery to communities across Wearside.
“He has shown a constant disregard for the law and his victims, committing crime after crime for purely selfish gain without giving a second’s thought to those whose livelihoods he harms. We and the public are sick to death of Hogg’s criminality.
“There is no place for offending such as this and we will continue to do all we can to put people like Hogg before the courts.”