Penniless burglar ‘can’t repay’ shopkeeper £900 for stolen alcohol haul

Noel Clarke was jailed for burglary at the Premier Store in Bramford Road, Ipswich Picture: SUFFOLK

Noel Clarke was jailed for burglary at the Premier Store in Bramford Road, Ipswich Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

An Ipswich burglar with an “appalling” criminal record has been locked up again – for stealing hundreds of pounds worth of alcohol from a shop storeroom.

Noel Clarke was under post-sentence supervision following release from jail when he looted the Premier convenience store in Bramford Road on August 5.

The 48-year-old was arrested after being recognised by a police officer watching CCTV footage of the raid.

He faced magistrates in Ipswich on Wednesday, appearing on video link in custody at Martlesham Heath police investigation centre.

Clarke, of no fixed address, admitted the non-domestic burglary he committed after ignoring a sign marked ‘No Entry; Staff Only’ and walking into the back room of the shop.

Prosecutor Tess Mann explained he then opened a rear door onto the street, walked back through the shop and bought a drink at the counter, before leaving via the front of the building and re-entering through the open back door.

Clarke removed two loads of alcohol before aborting his third attempt and escaping when caught in the act by a shop assistant.

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“He was identified on CCTV by an officer who has known him for 15 years”, added Mrs Mann.

“The defendant was on post-sentence supervision at the time and has a number of convictions for burglary.

“He was last before the court in June for dishonesty – and had only just been released when this took place.

“His tenacity is displayed by his 52nd conviction, in 2010, for burglary of a non-dwelling, attempted burglary of a non-dwelling and failure to surrender to custody – all committed while on bail.”

Shelley Drew, representing Clarke, said her client was stuck in a “vicious cycle” of leaving prison and re-offending to fund a drug addiction.

“He was released with £46 in his pocket and no accommodation,” she added.

“With no money, home or anything in place for his release, he falls into the same pattern of behaviour.”

Magistrates told Clarke he had an “appalling” record before jailing him for 24 weeks and ordering him to pay £900 in compensation to the shopkeeper.

After hearing his sentence, Clarke asked: “If I haven’t got any money, how can I pay?”