A MAN who broke into a fish and chip shop and stole a safe told police officers he only wanted a soft drink.

Anthony Brian Beard, 35, pleaded guilty to a burglary charge at Wrexham Magistrates Court after he took cash from Yiannos Fish Bar on Victoria Road, Brynteg.

Prosecutor Wyn Jones said the shop's owners had locked up on December 19 last year only to find the store had been broken into when they opened up the next morning at 7.45am.

CCTV footage showed a male entering through a side window and going into the kitchen before turning off the electricity at the mains.

He was then seen taking £20 cash from the till before ripping a metal safe from a shelf which contained £220.

When officers watched the CCTV images they recognised Beard, of Coed Efa, New Broughton.

He was arrested after being spotted in Llangollen in January this year.

Beard, who was jailed in November 2016 for eight different burglaries, told officers he had been drinking heavily on a night out with his girlfriend and remembered opening the window to the shop because he wanted some soft drinks.

He had seen “a black box” and decided to take it – but claimed he had put it somewhere and now couldn’t remember where.

A probation report by Pam Roberts said Beard was now working as a painter and decorator and earning up to £600 per week and so had no need to break into the shop.

She said he was “remorseful and frustrated” at being back in court because he had made a lot of progress following years of drug misuse.

Stephen Edwards, defending, said the offence was a stupid thing to do but claimed that Beard's finances were tight in the run up to Christmas.

Chairman of the bench Celia Jenkins handed Beard a 12-week community order with a curfew requirement keeping him at his home address between 8pm and 6am every night.

He will also pay £240 compensation, £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £85.

“I’m glad to hear things are
getting better but don’t let you or your girlfriend down,” added Ms Jenkins before wishing Beard good luck.