Preston man admits he is jewellery shop's rooftop raider

Hacklers

Hacklers

A burglar whose rooftop heist prompted the closure of a Preston street - and the retirement of one of the city’s longest serving jewellers - has admitted his guilt.

Mark Bentley, of Woodplumpton Road, Ashton, Preston, admitted a single offence of burglary over the £8,000 break in at Hackler’s in Lune Street, Preston city centre, a Lancashire Police spokesman said.

Raid at Hacklers

Raid at Hacklers

It is understood the 52-year-old was arrested on Monday.

Readers were shocked by the double rooftop raid on November 20, which led to frustrated businessman Norman Oldfield vowing to quit after 66 years in the jewellery trade.

Mr Oldfield, a father-of-three, had worked with jewellery since his teenage years, when he became interested in watches.

The burglars used ladders to get on to the roof of his shop early last Sunday.

Raid at Hacklers

Raid at Hacklers

They smashed their way into the building, leaving holes in the roof and the ceiling.

Insurers were brought in to assess the value of the haul, which included gold ear rings and chains, and the cost is understood to be at around £8,000.

But none of the valuable goods have yet been recovered, according to police.

At the time the raid was discovered Lune Street had to be closed as officers, with the help of a fire service cherry picker, climbed onto the building’s roof to inspect it.

Norman Oldfield

Norman Oldfield

But after clearing up the initial mess, Norman was called back to his shop early on Monday to find intruders had re-visited the premises, brazenly using the same ladders to climb in for a second go.

But this time they fled empty-handed after they were thwarted by doors that had been newly reinforced inside.

Bentley, who used to live in Barry Avenue, Ingol, and is described as a “career burglar”, will be sentenced before Preston Crown Court on January 7 after the bench at Preston Magistrates’ Court committed the case.

He has been remanded into custody in the meantime.

Mr Oldfield previously told the Evening Post: “I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been the victim of theft over the years. It’s getting too stressful at my age.”

Anyone with information about the raid can call 101.