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

51 minutes ago

Tourism experts in North Devon have said bookings are already beginning to flood in and 2017 season looks promising.

Read more
59 minutes ago

The owner of the ‘haunted house’ in Westward Ho! said he is still undecided on what its future will hold.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:03

Ilfracombe Town Council has kept its portion of the council tax to 1.6 per cent for 2017-18

Read more
Yesterday, 16:03

Top accolade for The Olive Room in Fore Street and chef Thomas Carr

Read more
Yesterday, 13:31

Man slashed across face during attempted knife point robbery in Ilfracombe said police response ‘was amazing’

Read more
Yesterday, 10:25

Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident in Tarry Lane, Ilfracombe to come forward, after the victim was left injured.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

Charity thanks couple for spectacular festive display

Read more
Yesterday, 09:48

A meeting in Bideford next week will discuss changes to business rates in Torridge from April.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00

Bid for devolved powers is ‘still on track’ but fresh concerns raised about amount of money being offered to take on new responsibilities.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:33

Police thank the public after finding missing Brixham man in Barnstaple.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

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