Career criminal cut hole in roof of Wakefield convenience store

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A career burglar used an electric saw to cut a hole in the roof of a convenience store in a bid to steal cash and cigarettes.

Christopher Gill left empty-handed after being unable to open tills and set off alarms at the One Stop Shop, Denby Dale Road, Wakefield.

Leeds Crown Court heard Gill, 38, was equipped with an electric saw when he climbed onto the roof at 4am on November 12 this year. Bashir Ahmed, prosecuting, said Gill climbed through the hole, onto a suspended ceiling and cut through wires to the CCTV system.

The prosecutor said Gill entered the store and went to the area where cigarettes were kept. A smoke screen was set off as he approached.

Gill then kicked in an internal door and went to the check-out area and tried to rip out a till.

Mr Ahmed said Gill was unable to get any cash and left. Police arrested him nearby.

Gill, of Fulwood Grove, Kettlethorpe, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal. The court heard Gill has 15 previous convictions for burglary.

He was given a nine-year prison sentence in 2008 for conspiracy to commit burglary.

Robin Freize, mitigating, said Gill had managed to stay out of trouble since being released from custody in 2012.

He said the father-of-three had committed the offence as he was desperate for money to provide for his family.

Mr Freize said Gill now had a job and his family would suffer if he was sent to jail.

Gill was given a 16-month sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work and take part in a 28-day rehabilitation programme.

Recorder Jeremy Hill-Baker said: “In my view the public are more likely to be given a rest from your offending by addressing what causes you to re-offend after a significant period out of trouble.

“You have never had help before. If I were to lock you up, you would lose your job and it is likely it would fracture your family life support network.”