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Norwich pub landlord helped catch man who had burgled city flat

PUBLISHED: 14:21 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:15 11 July 2019

Bargate Court in Norwich. Photo: Google

Bargate Court in Norwich. Photo: Google

Google

A man who burgled a flat following a drunken argument was caught after a pub landlord spotted him carrying a guitar stolen in the incident, a court has heard.

Nathan Smart, 39, has been drinking with sisters Kelly Chapman, 35, and Claire Chapman, 33, round a camp fire in the communal area of flats at Bargate Court in Norwich.

Norwich Crown Court heard that police had already attended after neighbours complained of noise being made.

But the noise nuisance continued and at about 1am on September 5 last year one of the neighbours came out to talk to the group.

Smart was "very aggressive" to the man who was then punched three to four times to the left side of the head by Kelly Chapman.

The victim then left and locked his door behind him.

Rachel Cushing, prosecuting, said later in the evening a man who lived in a nearby flats came to talk to the girls but left following an argument with Smart.

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The group later went to find him and went into his flat which had been left on the latch. They did not find him but started taking items from the property.

Mrs Cushing said Smart had scaled a drainpipe to get up to the property before throwing down a television which was caught by Claire Chapman.

The court heard the victim's flatmate awoke after hearing the intruders and was "terrified".

The group fled but were later caught after the landlord of the Leopard pub saw Smart walking with a carrier bag and a guitar which he put behind a wall.

The landlord later went to look at the items and saw a games console in the bag, prompting him to call police.

Smart, of Charlton Road, Norwich, and Claire Chapman, of Bull Close Road, both admitted burglary on September 5 last year while Kelly Chapman, of no fixed abode, admitted battery.

Smart received an eight month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months as well as 120 hours unpaid work, while Claire Chapman received a 12 month community order, including 120 hours unpaid work.

Kelly was sentenced to a 12 month community order, including a drug rehabilitation requirement.

Richard Kelly, for Smart, said he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity while John Morgans, representing the sisters, said they were both "genuinely remorseful".

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