Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

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, 14:28

Social media goes potty after convoy of blue light vehicles seen on Link Road and travelling through Barnstaple

Read more
Yesterday, 15:14
Ilfracombe RNLI in ballet pose. Picture: RNLI/Jane Perrin

Volunteers gather for a Mayday photoshoot with a difference...

Read more
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Scenes from Ilfracombe May Day 2016

Watch: The spirit of summer is released a day earlier than usual as Ilfracombe’s May Day celebrations enjoyed a good turn out

Read more
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Torrington May Fair 2015. Pictures: Sarah Howells

Torrington is getting ready for its Mayfair celebrations and carnival this coming week - everything you need to know here.

Read more
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Ben Blake, Craig Huxtable, Lewis Pillman, Hettie Cook and Karen Vasey-Szwer are among a group of eight Bideford College students hoping to travel to Ecuador. Picture: Submitted

Supermarket check-out bag pack among a series of stunts carried out to raise funds for ‘life-changing’ trip to Ecuador.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Stowford Farm Meadows

Will Stowford Farm Meadows be crowned the king of sites in the Great British Park off?

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Dave Butt, pictured during the Pilton Festival, was a staunch community champion. Picture: Barbara Fryer Photography

Hundreds pack Barnstaple Parish Church to bid farewell to community champion

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016

Firefighters from Barnstaple were called after reports of a smell of smoke and a fire alarm sounding.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is letting people behind the scenes ahead of one of their busiest weekends.

Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Councillor Sue Hayward and town clerk Will Austin outside Barnstaple Guildhall

Barnstaple Town Council has big plans for the Guildhall, but the historic building needs a bit of sprucing up first.

Read more

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Read Online

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

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications