Norwich pub landlady catches thief red-handed

A bungling thief who broke into a Norwich city-centre pub was caught literally red-handed after being found outside the building with blood on his hands caused by smashing a window.

Debbie Pearce, 45, who runs the Champion pub, awoke to find that the upstairs window had been smashed. After trawling through the CCTV footage the thief was seen throwing stolen items from the pub into a nearby bin.

The footage showed he had broken into the pub at about 5am on Friday, March 11 and had been rummaging in the dark for more than an hour stealing whatever took his fancy, she said.

When she went outside the pub to look for more clues she found the same man in the CCTV footage sitting nearby in Chapel Field Road with blood pouring from his hands.

Norfolk police were called and arrested a male on suspicion of burglary. Mrs Pearce said today: 'I heard a noise and noticed that the upstairs kitchen window had been broken. Several items including a laptop computer and about eight bottles of spirits were missing.

'We watched the CCTV footage and saw that a man had entered the pub through the roof window and had thrown items out the window into a nearby bin.

'He was still outside the pub so I spoke to him and asked him what he was doing. He said that he had lost his wallet and was retracing his steps to try and find it. He had blood on his hands from breaking into the window. Footprints were also left in the pub.

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'He said we had a lovely little girl, which meant he must have gone into my granddaughter Josie's bedroom to rummage around. 'But he did not try and run away and was arrested by the police.'

Mrs Pearce, who took over the pub last September and runs it with husband Don and daughter Natalie, said the incident had shaken her up.

'It's not a nice feeling to know that someone has been rummaging through your rooms whilst you are asleep,' she said. 'It was also unnerving that he had been into Josie's bedroom.

'We will definitely do something about security to make sure it does not happen again.'

Police retrieved the stolen laptop and bottles in bushes at the nearby Marsh car park, she said.

It is not the first time the pub has suffered at the hands of criminals.

In 2009 the then landlords Jason Barker and his wife Nicola were subject to a vicious attack by unruly customers who assaulted them when they were asked to leave.

A group of about six customers came into the pub on a Saturday evening and became violent with one man holding Mrs Barker's hair while a woman repeatedly punched her in the face and another man punched Mr Barker knocking him over.

A Norfolk police spokesman said that a 19-year-old man from Norwich had been charged with burglary of a dwelling and theft, and was due to appear before Norwich magistrates on March 30.

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