A pair of burglars who led police to their hideout with a trail of cigarettes have avoided a jail sentence.
John Collins and John Campbell stole £3,647.94 worth of cigarettes from a newsagents in Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Collins, 54 and Campbell, 45, smashed their way into The One Shop on Sea Road, Fulwell, in the early hours of August 15 2011.
The court heard how at 3.48am that night, Collins and Campbell, along with a third accomplice, snatched an estimated 700 packets of cigarettes.
Graham O'Sullivan, prosecuting said: "The shop alarm had been sounding, police attended and discovered a forced entry to the shop which had been locked and protected by shutters.
"Cigarettes had been stolen and police initially followed a trail of cigarettes which led to the rear lane of Osborne Street.
"They also found a car registration plate and a plastic shelving unit similar to those used to display cigarettes."
The shop's key entry box, door mechanism and internal and external cameras were all damaged in the raid.
CCTV footage from the store showed three people, one of whom was identified as Campbell.
Police attended his property, on Osborne Street, Sunderland, at around 5.50am where they found five other people including Collins.
A large quantity of cigarettes was found at the house.
Campbell was arrested and became aggressive, kicking out at the handbrake and passenger door of the police car he was placed inside.
Collins' fingerprints had been found on the recovered shelving and he was also arrested.
Under police interview Campbell originally denied being involved in the burglary, claiming he was with his partner and son.
Collins also denied any involvement stating that he had arrived at Campbell's home just moments before the police did.
Campbell pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal damage at an earlier hearing.
The court heard Campbell, who works as a roofer, has 32 previous convictions for theft.
Collins, who also works as a roofer, has 14 previous offences, including one of shoplifting while on bail for this charge.
David Callan, defending for Campbell, said: "This was a drunken escapade.
"There was a trail of cigarettes from the shops which was burgled to the flat where he was, which is not exactly professional.
"He has now given up drink, he realises that has been the cause of his problems."
Lewis Kerr, defending for Collins said: "He knows that the only step forward is to put the offending behind him.
"He looks after his elderly mother."
Campbell was given an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to complete a 12 month supervision requirement, given a three month electronic curfew between the hours of 10pm and 6am and was fined £1,000.
Collins, of Trimdon Street, Sunderland, was given a five month prison sentence, suspended for two years, a three month electronic curfew between the hours of 10pm and 3am and was fined £500.
Passing sentence, Mr Recorder Dean Kershaw said: "Your crime was to put together a team to break into a local newsagent, using tools, smashing the cameras outside and inside and you stole cigarettes to the value of three and a half thousand pounds.
"This is a serious case, you both know that.
"Whilst the value of the property isn't the highest, it is high in relation to the corner shop.
"It's the sort of offence which sometimes puts a business beyond economical hope and if the business closes the community loses the benefit and value of having a local shop, so the harm could be quite substantial."
More from News
- Derek Llambias Resigns From Role As Managing Director At Newcastle United
- Newcastle United Boss Alan Pardew Leads The Premier League Sack Race
- Rihanna's Greatest Hits: Stadium Of Light Star Lashes Out At Clingy Fan
- Vintage Vehicles Tear Up The Dales In The 43rd Annual Beamish Run
- British Army Redundancies: North East Ex-Servicemen Speak Out
- Newcastle Fan Who Punched Police Horse Claims 'Self Defence'
- The Beggar Who Makes Up To £150 A Day On The Streets Of Newcastle
- Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes: 'Cuts Made Me A Hate Figure'