"Game over" for burglar, 40, caught red-handed at Bognor Regis arcade
Alerted by an intruder alarm at 4.49am on August 29, Sussex Police officers raced to Neptunes Arcade on Bognor Regis pier, where they found the doors had been forced open and several machines had been broken into, leaving a trail of broken glass on the floor.
When an initial search came up short, it appeared the burglar had got away, but, eventually, one of the officers heard the sound of coins coming from behind one of the machines.
There, hiding behind the machine, they found 40-year-old Tristram Francis, a prolific offender in the area, and well known to police. Refusing to come out, officers had to grab hold of him in order to detain him.
Francis, of Marshall Avenue, Bognor Regis, was arrested and charged with burglary, Sussex Police said.
He reoffended while on bail, committing another burglary at an office in Nile Street, Brighton, on September 21, stealing around £3,000 worth of electrical equipment; including cameras, laptops and charging cables.
After being identified through CCTV images, he was once again arrested and charged. Appearing before Crawley Magistrates Court on Monday, November 27, he was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, meaning he could be immediately jailed if he offends again. He was also required to take part in a drugs rehabilitation programme for the next 12 months.
Investigating officer Caitlyn O’Dwyer said; “Despite his clear dependency on drug use, the actions of Francis on these two occasions were completely unacceptable. He caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to an arcade frequented by families, locals and tourists, and the business owners were faced with the massive inconvenience of getting that damage repaired.
“He also stole numerous electrical items from an office in Brighton, again causing a huge inconvenience to the victims.
“We hope this conviction enables Francis to receive the help he needs to get him back on the right path. He has been warned that if he commits any further offences within the next 18 months, he could face immediate imprisonment.”