Burglar who used sledge hammer to break into Peterborough charity shop jailed

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A burglar who used a sledge hammer to break into a Peterborough charity shop has been jailed by a judge.

Thomas Hutchinson (38) was locked up for 26 weeks at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court today (Friday) after pleading guilty to one count of burglary.

The court was told Hutchinson - who has committed 118 offences in the past, many for theft, burglary and other dishonesty offences - smashed the fire doors in at the Barnardo’s shop in Drake Avenue, Hempsted, Peterborough on December 22 last year.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “Hutchinson used a sledge hammer to break the door in at the store, and then carried out a search of the property.

“He used his sledge hammer to break the safe, and stole £116.20 in cash.”

The court was told Hutchinson was serving a sentence for dishonesty offences, which was passed earlier this year, when forensic evidence linked him to the charity store break in. His address was given in court as HMP Peterborough.

Mr Beaumont said Hutchinson told police he had committed the crime as probation officers had put him in Peterborough, but he wanted to leave the area, to get away from associates who encouraged him to take drugs.

Rebecca Keogh, defending, said Hutchinson was anxious to spend time with his mother, who was seriously ill.

Judge Ken Sheraton, sentencing, said: “Your record shows 118 offences, mostly for theft with a good number of burglaries.

“This burglary was targeted. You used implements to break into the door and safe. A good deal of inconvenience and loss was caused to the charity.”

Along with the 26 week prison sentence, he was ordered to pay £516.20 compensation.