Burglar ‘given the chop’ by black belt

09:11 20 February 2013

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

Would-be thief didn’t escape after being caught with ‘balaclava and screwdriver’ at The Grosvenor Hotel in Ilfracombe by its owner.

A ‘balaclava’ clad man who broke into an Ilfracombe hotel received more than he bargained for when confronted by its karate black belt owner.

North Devon Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday how 41-year-old Paul Crack had been ‘rugby tackled to the floor’ by owner Raynor Wells after he discovered him inside the Grosvenor Hotel.

Crack, from Ilfracombe, indicated a guilty plea to burglary with intent to steal following the January 22 incident.

Mr Wells had come back to the hotel, which was closed for the winter season, at around 7pm to do admin work, when he heard a noise in the reception area.

He discovered Crack with a ‘balaclava’ over his face and a screwdriver in his hand.

Unfortunately for the would-be burglar, black belt Mr Wells, who trains at Barnstaple Shotokan Karate Club and has been practising karate for 25 years, was prepared.

Lyndsey Baker, prosecuting, said Crack began talking to him, apparently to distract him in an effort to escape.

“Mr Wells got him in a headlock and held him there for two minutes until he stopped struggling. He allowed him to get up so he could phone 999, but Mr Crack pulled the phone cord out of the wall,” she said.

The phone was reconnected, the police called and then Crack made another bid for the exit, but Mr Wells pursued and caught him with a rugby tackle.

The court heard that at police interview, Crack said he was one of three who entered the property, and that he was asked to be the lookout. Police searched the hotel but found no one else.

Tony Dart, defending, said: “Nothing was taken and there was only very minor damage where entry was gained. He regrets he was there and accepts it was a foolish thing to do.”

The court heard Crack had 31 previous convictions, including burglary.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing for a probation report and released Crack on conditional bail, to reappear before them on Friday.

Mr Wells told the Gazette it had all happened very suddenly: “I had the one chance to make sure he was not going anywhere.

“I did not strike him or anything like that, I had to restrain him. Let’s hope that the justice system does the right thing.”

He said the hotel had endured several thefts during the previous six to nine months and he was keen that whoever he discovered was not about to escape.

Related articles

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 14:00
The Oldenburg alongside the pier in Ilfracombe

Town in mourning pays homage to ‘a lovely guy’ who lost his life in Monday’s accident at the pier

Read more
Yesterday, 11:57
The scene on the A39 tonight after two cars collided and caught fire. Picture: Kathryn-Racheal Ring

Members of the public have been praised for pulling two drivers out of burning vehicles following collision near Barnstaple on Friday night.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:38

Fire in house in Gould Road started accidentally, said fire service.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:11
This scenes from a video shot by Steve Pugsley shows the force of the waves.

Big waves are wreaking havoc for motorists who parked near the coast this morning (Monday)...

Read more
Yesterday, 10:23

Police warn horse owners to keep their eye out for anything suspicious during summer season after ‘isolated’ incident.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00
Bideford Carnival 2014. Pic: Graham Hobbs.

Find out when and where you can catch carnivals in North Devon this summer.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:31
Police re-direct traffic following the fatal collision at the Sticklepath roundabout on Sunday afternoon. Picture: Submitted

Arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after ‘Barnhenge’ collision which killed 20-year-old motorcyclist.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:34
Verity stands defiant as T-Rex approaches... Picture: Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park

Damien Hirst’s Verity almost ended up as dino food after an art-loving t-rex ‘escaped’ from his handlers during a trip to Ilfracombe.

Read more
Mon, 21:10
Ilfracombe Harbour.

An investigation into how a 58-year-old fell from the pier is now underway

Read more
Mon, 18:41
Scenes from North Devon Relay for Life 2015 at Barnstaple Rugby Club. Picture: @tidyeyepr

Best feet forward at annual Cancer Research UK fundraiser in Barnstaple...

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder