Restaurant owners tried to restrain burglar

A burglar turned himself into police after stealing £22 from a Cardigan restaurant and leaving his hat at the scene.

Michell John Joseph Valmont, aged 36, who gave his address as Room 1, The Bardsey, Borth, appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

Dennis Davies, prosecuting, told the court that the owners of the Fisherman’s Rest, Quay Street, decided to sleep at the premises on July 12, and were woken by noises near the till in the early hours of the morning.

When they investigated, a figure in a hat was seen crouching near the counter area, and the owners warned him they were calling the police, before attempting to restrain him, and were dragged along as he got away.

A total of £22 was found to have been stolen from the till, and a lighter and camouflage hat were recovered from the scene by police.

The court heard that Valmont went to Cardigan police station on July 15, stating he had committed a crime.

He told officers he had entered the restaurant through the window, and was shocked to find the owners were at the premises. He knew he could be connected to the crime as he had dropped his lighter and hat there.

In interview he said: “I thought - why go back to that life?”

Valmont also admitted to entering Cardigan RFC and Teifi Boating Club as a trespasser with the intention of stealing, and asked for this to be taken into account for sentencing.

Alex Scott, defending, told the court Valmont was released from prison on June 18, after spending more than five months on remand, awaiting trial for an offence he was acquitted of.

Mr Scott said: “He was released from prison without any form of support what-so-ever. He was living hand-to-mouth and sofa-surfing with friends.

“It was purely financial desperation. He resorted to the behaviour he is used to, brazen and largely unsophisticated burglary at commercial premises.

“It was very much a spur of the moment offence. He thought the property would be unoccupied at the time, he was not banking on any form of confrontation. When challenged he appeared apologetic and shocked.”

The court heard that Valmont had been convicted of numerous offences, and was familiar with the prison environment.

Magistrates sentenced Valmont to 26 weeks in custody.

The presiding magistrate said: “You were released from prison and within a few days committed further offences.”

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