St Leonards burglar armed with hammer detained by members of the public

A man has pleaded guilty to two burglaries and two attempted burglaries in St Leonards after being detained by two members of the public, police have confirmed.

John McWhinnie, 46, unemployed, of Marline Road, St Leonards, admitted six offences when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 15.

The charges included burglary with theft, burglary with intent to steal, and two counts of attempted burglary with intent to steal, according to Sussex Police.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Police said he also pleaded guilty to battery and threatening a person with an offensive weapon in a public place.


McWhinnie was arrested by officers responding to reports of break-ins at commercial properties in Battle Road, St Leonards, in the early hours of Wednesday (April 14), said police.

He had been detained by two members of the public having been seen in possession of a hammer, and a collection tin and stereo taken from a charity shop, according to police.

He had also been witnessed trying to enter a building using a crowbar, and damage was later found to the property, police added.

He was arrested and interviewed, before being charged and appearing in court.

McWhinnie will be sentenced in court on May 13.