Drunken thief fell asleep behind bar at crime scene after Sunderland nightclub raid
A boozed-up burglar was caught in the act when he fell asleep behind the bar of a nightclub he was raiding.
Drunk Trevor Palmer and three others were captured on CCTV breaking into to the Basement Club, in Sunderland armed with metal bars.
The men ransacked the pub and smashed their way into a safe, causing Â£9,000 worth of damage, before three of the four made-off.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard the raid took its toll on Palmer, who settled down to sleep behind the bar.
When the manager was alerted to the raid the next morning, he found the sleepy 25-year-old, still snoozing.
Palmer, of Perth Road, Plains Farm, in Sunderland, who was photographed still sleeping at the crime scene, admitted burglary.
He also pleaded guilty to a break-in at McDonald's, where he stole straws, cookies and a high-visibility jacket - which he was caught wearing during his getaway.
Judge Stephen Earl sentenced him to a total of 18 months behind bars.
The judge said the break-in at McDonald's was one of the most “inept” he had seen.
In reference to the club raid, the judge said: "Such a good burglar you are, you are still in the premises behind the bar, found asleep in drink."
Prosecutor Emma Dowling said staff at the Basement Club left for the night at around 2am on October 9 last and Palmer and three associates were caught on CCTV going in about 50 minutes later.
All four were seen to make their way with “metal implements” to an office area and repeatedly hit a safe.
Ms Dowling said: "The defendant joins in with the metal implements and strikes the safe a number of times.
"The next morning, staff are alerted to the fact there has been a burglary at 8am. The manager of the premises is called and he goes around the premises and this defendant is actually asleep inside.
"He's taken outside by staff members.
"A photograph is taken of him still asleep."
The court heard a computer, a hard drive, sound equipment, Â£300 cash from a bandit machine and alcohol were stolen during the burglary.
Ms Dowling added: "In addition, there was Â£9,000-worth of damage caused as the safe was, in the end, opened.
"Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have contained that, which they were looking for.
"There was also an element of ransacking and throwing things around."
The court heard during the McDonald’s burglary, which was less than a week earlier, Palmer and a female associate had broken into a branch of the fast food giant in Ryhope, in Sunderland, in the early hours.
He again was caught on CCTV, this time smashing a window in the drive thru and stealing straws, cookies and a high-visibility jacket.
The pair were spotted by police nearby a short time later with Palmer's associate still wearing the brightly coloured clothing.
Alec Burns, mitigating, said, since being in custody Palmer, who has 55 past convictions for 94 offences, had used his time constructively.
He added: "The offence in McDonald's was low value.
"In the club, he doesn't remember attacking the safe. He was drunk and, given the state he's in when he's found the next morning when he's difficult to rouse, that would be supported."