A cheeky thief who was jailed for smashing his way into a village store and stealing more than £3,000 of goods is back behind bars after he returned to the scene of his crime to steal another £3,500.
Lee Walker, 40, has been jailed for seven months after the most recent raid at the Loco village store in Great Eccleston.
It comes three years after he ramraided the shop to steal more than £3,700 of cigarettes, brandy and champagne.
Shopkeeper Christine Holden said the recent raid left her “shocked and traumatised” after she discovered Walker sitting at her desk in the store room when she went to look for her grandchildren on Saturday, September 22.
Christine, 61, who runs the shop with her husband Derek, said she had been in the stock room earlier in the day and had accidentally left the key to the safe on the desk.
Her grandchildren, aged eight and five, had been playing hide and seek in the shop and when she heard a noise from the stock room. She assumed it was them.
But she said: “I opened the door and I got the shock of my life.”
Walker, high on drugs, was sat at her desk with his head down, stuffing money down his trousers.
“I said, ‘who are you?’ then it just hit me. I flew out of the office and shut the door behind me to try and keep it shut. I shouted for Derek, saying ‘We’re being robbed’ but he over powered me and dashed out of the shop.”
Christine gave a description to customer Brian Nicholson, who jumped in his car and followed Walker and his brother, who was also in the shop, to a caravan park in nearby Little Eccleston.
Police took a picture of Walker from the shop’s CCTV camera and caught up with Walker, who had £3,500 in cash and cheques on him. He admitted the burglary and handed over the cash.
Three years ago, Walker and two other men were caught making off with more than £3,700 of cigarettes, brandy, champagne and confectionery after smashing their way through the front window and the security shutters in the early hours of the morning.
Neighbours in the sleepy village were woken to the sound of breaking glass and sirens and following a dramatic chase through the Wyre countryside, Walker was found hiding in a field in St Michaels.
He admitted his role and was jailed for eight months.
At Preston Crown Court on Monday, Joe Hart, defending, said the offence on September 23 was “unsophisticated and opportunistic”.
He said Walker had come out of prison having rid himself of class A drugs but had been drinking and taking diazepam on the day of the offence.
The judge, Recorder Raymond Wigglesworth QC, told Walker: “You managed to have this confrontation with a member of staff which must have been on any view very frightening for her.”
Following the burglary, security has been tightened at the village store, but Christine said it serves as a warning for rural businesses to be vigilant.