Man jailed after safe stolen from Spread Eagle pub

The Spread Eagle pub in Ipswich. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The Spread Eagle pub in Ipswich. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

A 34-year-old man who was seen loading a safe containing £4,000 into a taxi shortly after a burglary at an Ipswich town centre pub has been jailed for 10  months.

The burglary at the Spread Eagle pub in Fore Street took place between 12.30am and 3.30am on April 27 last year and at around 3.20am a University of Suffolk campus security guard saw a man walking through the university car park towards Grimwade Street, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He saw the same man reappear seven minutes later near the university car park and put a safe in a taxi.

The security guard suspected the safe was stolen and stopped the taxi by standing in the road, said Simon Gladwell, prosecuting.

The man with the safe claimed it belonged to him and there was no reason why he shouldn’t take it with him but when the taxi driver refused to continue the journey he ran off and taking with him a jacket that had been covering the safe.

The court heard that the safe and its contents were recovered.

Mr Gladwell said that during his conversation with the security guard the man with the safe had become aggressive and told him: “You better watch your back.” 

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Before the court was Lee Nicholls, of Hawke Road, Ipswich. He admitted handling a stolen safe belonging to the Spread Eagle pub.

Jailing Nicholls for 10 months Judge David Pugh said that as he had served the equivalent of a 27 week prison sentence on a qualifying tagged curfew he would be eligible for immediate release.

He said that Nicholls had more than 100 previous convictions, including offences of burglary and theft, and described his record as “appalling.”

Juliet Donovan for Nicholls said her client had been using cocaine and had been told to commit the offence after running up a £2,000 drug debt he couldn’t pay.

She said that since April last year Nicholls had kept out of trouble and he had told her he “was sick of going to prison” and wanted to change his life.

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