Bungling thieves who attempted to rob a shop in the dead of night made so much noise they woke up a concerned neighbour – who promptly called 999.
Charles Gee and Steven Fuller were in a drug-fuelled haze when they ransacked a bike shop in Blackpool, a court heard.
It was a relatively unsophisticated offence but it was persistent
The neighbour, awoken by loud ‘crashing’, called police who caught them red-handed at the scene of the crime, at Rothery’s Bikes, on Central Drive.
Police today praised the quick-thinking neighbour, whose call meant officers were able to surround the building while the pair were still inside.
PC Darren Woodley, of Blackpool Police, said: “It’s such a rare thing to catch them in the act – it does make it easy for us.
“They were both holding things when they have been caught and we shouted for them to hit the floor.
“They thought they could get away undetected but they were scuppered.”
Preston Crown Court heard the shop was a ‘mess’ when officers arrived as Gee and Fuller tried to blame each other.
On November 11, the pair had smashed their way through a locked door, waking a neighbour who alerted police. The pair admitted burglary.
Judge Recorder James Adkin, jailed Gee, 36, of Pleasant Street, Blackpool, for 12 months and Fuller, 37, of the same address, for two years after he admitted a further offence of breaching a suspended sentence.
He said: “You were caught red handed. It was a relatively unsophisticated offence but it was persistent. The interior was ransacked.”
Prosecuting, Rachel Woods said: “The premises concerned is a cycle shop which was left by the proprietor locked and secure.
“Unfortunately at that time it didn’t have an alarm or CCTV. However at 5.40am a nearby neighbour who lived in premises that overlooked the shop saw two males inside the shop.
“He in fact had been awoken by a loud crashing noise and when he went to investigate.
“He could see there was a light on inside the premises and he could heard two voices and the outline of two people through the frosted glass. It appeared one of them was carrying a red light.”
She said police were quick to arrive and promptly arrested the pair, who dropped the items they were holding as officers entered.
She added:“Mr Fuller was protesting the door was already broken and he thought it was full of ‘abandoned bikes’.”
She said the till was on the floor and there were drawers that had been pulled open, leaving the place in ‘a general mess’.
The court heard Gee had only just been released from prison and was recalled on licence.
Defending both men, Miss Taylor said: “I know it appears on arrest both blamed each other.
“But the reality is this neither can truly remember it given both were under the influence of substances, and both accept whoever did what doesn’t matter they are both liable for this offence.
“Both have lengthy histories and both have the same explanation for that - your Honour will no doubt agree they are typical of those with a drug addiction. However both of them have made efforts to rid themselves of that addiction.”