Lager thief burgles cash from Ipswich

A BURGLAR who rifled through shop takings to choose the biggest bundle of banknotes, is today behind bars.Cocky father-of-four Mark Aitkens, 34, of Queensway, Ipswich, also stole a can of lager from the same store, then went back to turn security cameras around in a bid to stop them filming his crimes.

By Tracey Sparling

A BURGLAR who rifled through shop takings to choose the biggest bundle of banknotes, is today behind bars.

Cocky father-of-four Mark Aitkens, 34, of Queensway, Ipswich, also stole a can of lager from the same store, then went back to turn security cameras around in a bid to stop them filming his crimes.

He was convicted by a jury of burglary, and pleaded guilty to theft of a can of lager. Both offences happened on April 27 last year at Costcutters in Queensway.


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Prosecuting at Bury Crown Court , Hugh Vass said Aitkens stole a can of Tennants Super lager in the early evening, and became abusive and threatening when challenged by staff.

Mr Vass said: "He stood outside drinking the lager, so staff telephoned the police. He said 'I'm going to kill you, your soul is mine.' He then turned the cctv cameras around so they wouldn't pick up his image."

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The victim Mr Zablocki was in the back of the shop counting the money when he heard the door to the main shop squeak, indicating someone had entered.

He looked up to see Aitkens, who said: "I am going to kill you. I am on bail for murder."

Aitkens picked up a red pod (container) from the counter and opened it to remove £160. He counted up to £110 and put it all back, saying "That's not enough to pay my fine."

He then picked up a blue pod containing £770, didn't look inside because he had seen Mr Zablocki counting the money. He put that in his pocket and left.

Scared Mr Zablocki told police he didn't try to stop him as he may have carried out the threat.

Mitigating, Matthew McNiff said Aitkens had previous convictions from ten years ago, and added: "That is significant. Mr Aitkens has four children who mean the world to him. The oldest is 11."

He said Aitkens was unable to work 'because of physical and psychological difficulties', so caring for the children enabled their mothers the freedom to work.

He said: "Their being able to work means the children are looked after not entirely by the state."

He added that one mother was a self-employed hairdresser who would have to stop work if Aitkens was jailed, and described her as an innocent third party.

Mr McNiff said Aitkens described his own mother as 'remarkable,' and displayed a strong sense of family loyalty.

Judge John Holt told Aitkens: "This burglary came close to the burglary side of robbery. It was significant that when police searched you within five minutes, you did not have the pod on you, but had been seen giving it to someone else."

He added: "It was not only an unpleasant, nasty and selfish offence but it was premediated. I am satisfied that you must go to prison."

Aitkens was jailed for 18 months for burglary, and given a three-month concurrent sentence for theft.

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