A DOZY burglar lying sleeping on a pavement in the middle of the night surrounded by stolen goods prompted a judge to say: “Apart from having a sign around his neck saying ‘Please Arrest Me’ he couldn’t have made this much easier for the police”.
Stephen William Craig McCrellis (22), of Gransden Court in Coleraine, appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to the burglary of a shop in Coleraine in February this year when he stole, grinders, lighters, bongs and cigarette papers.
A prosecutor said at 3.15am police received a report from a member of the public that a male was lying on a pavement.
When police arrived they found McCrellis was asleep but had a “bag of bongs” in his possession and was surrounded by “drug paraphernalia”.
Officers also noted a “trail of items” leading back to the shop.
The defendant was under the influence of either drink or drugs and was unable to account for the items.
When police checked the shop, which they knew sold such items, they discovered a window pane had been smashed and blood on glass was traced to McCrellis whose clothes also contained broken glass.
During interview he told police he had been drinking Buckfast since 5pm and smoked cannabis and his next memory was “waking up at the police station” and he didn’t know how he came to be in possession of the items.
Defence solicitor Stewart Ballentine said at the time his client was in a “bad place” and was abusing drink and drugs but had now sought help for his addictions and had “turned his life around”.
The lawyer said it was clear there was another party involved in the break-in who was not before the court.
Mr Ballentine said McCrellis had a good job and “hopefully this was just a blip”.
District Judge Peter King said it was “completely bizarre” behaviour and that the defendant was always going to be caught.
Sentencing was deferred for two weeks to allow a pre-sentence report to be prepared.