Football club fruit machine thief gets suspended term

A man who denied burglary, despite being found less than 100 yards from the scene of a break-in wearing dark clothes and a balaclava, has been found guilty of the crime.

The fruit machine was stolen Southwick Football Club in the middle of the night. Picture: Google Streetview
The fruit machine was stolen Southwick Football Club in the middle of the night. Picture: Google Streetview

Glen Davey, 47, of Summersdeane Road in Southwick, was convicted of stealing a fruit machine from Southwick Football Club, in Old Barn Way, when he appeared at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

He had pleaded not guilty to the offence, which happened in the early hours of Sunday, June 5.

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He was given a 20-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay £885.

In the evidence he gave to the court, Davey said he found the clothes – a dark boiler suit and balaclava – in a nearby garage, where he intended to sleep after drinking too much alcohol to get home.

PC Joseph Batstone told the court police were called to Southwick Football Club about 1.45am by a member of the public who could hear someone breaking in.

He said the two officers found two men less than 100 yards from the scene of the crime, near a white van.

Both were wearing dark clothes and balaclavas and ran behind the van, with one getting away, and the other, Davey, apprehended by officers. PC Moore pursued the runner, while PC Batstone stayed with Davey. PC Moore returned some time later having been unable to find the second man.

Officers later found a club window had been smashed and the fruit machine was standing outside.

Magistrates were shown video taken by PC Batstone at the scene, including one part where Davey can be heard asking for a cigarette from inside the white van, which he then denied having a connection to.

Testifying in court, Davey said he had found the door of the van ajar and had sat in it to smoke earlier that night.

Sentencing him, magistrate Paul Freegard said some of his account was ‘completely unbelievable’, particularly when he claimed to have found ‘perfectly fitting clothing’. “We believe he was going equipped”, Mr Freegard said.

As well as his suspended jail term, Davey was ordered to pay £500 compensation, £270 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

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