Prince of Wales Road arrest helps solve theft mystery

Mary HamiltonPolice solved a two-year-old theft when they fingerprinted a man they stopped on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, a court heard yesterday.Mary Hamilton

Police solved a two-year-old theft when they fingerprinted a man they stopped on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich, a court heard yesterday.

Officers stopped to speak to Francis Murray, 25, in the early hours of January 12 after he was heard shouting abuse outside a kebab shop, Norwich Magistrates' Court heard.

But when they took his details they discovered he was wanted for a theft from Norwich club Po Na Na in 2007, and he was arrested on the spot.

Prosecuting, Dennis King said Murray broke into the office at Po Na Na in the early hours of April 24, 2007, and took computer equipment and two mobile phones worth �650 in total.

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A fingerprint left on an office drawer was the only thing linking him to the burglary, said Mr King.

When police confronted Murray outside Norwich Pizza and Kebab House on Prince of Wales Road almost three years later, he resisted arrest, striking one police officer in the face and ripping his thumbnail.

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Mitigating, James Landles said Murray had not broken into the club but had woken up there, locked in, after falling unconscious on a night out.

He offered no explanation for how Murray had not been found but said the theft was impulsive and opportunistic.

'When he realised what he had done he disposed of the items,' said Mr Landles. 'He hoped it would not catch up with him.

'It was clearly an impulsive action and everything points to it being a one-off offence.'

District Judge Phillip Browning said: 'It was opportunistic but you deliberately stole items and sold them for your own benefit.

'You then made matters worse by your behaviour on Prince of Wales Road when you were arrested.'

Murray, of Crown Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to burglary and resisting a police officer.

He was ordered to complete a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work. He must also pay �650 compensation to Po Na Na, �100 to the police officer he injured while being arrested, and �85 in court costs.

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