Preston criminal Stuart Stansfield 'helped himself to chocolate cake' as he burgled cafe

Stuart Stansfield
Stuart Stansfield

A burglar who sparked misery for cafes along Preston's main street has been jailed for 18 weeks.

Stuart Stansfield, 38, of no fixed abode, already had 84 convictions on his record, Preston Crown Court was told.

He burgled Moka on Fishergate twice in the same week, as well as Brucciani's.

Prosecuting, Mercedeh Jabbari said the owner of Moka got a call at 7.30am on June 2 from staff informing him the property had been broken into, with extensive damage to the front door lock and a marble table.

She added: "The till drawer had been opened.

"£450 had been taken from two tills including two envelopes which contained tips for staff members.

"A further investigation revealed the upstairs office had been broken into. A laptop full of business information and documentation was taken and and external hard drive containing the CCTV system - but it was backed up.

"From that, police identified Stansfield."

On June 10, Moka was burgled again, with a second external hard drive stolen, along with two buckets of 1p and 2p coins, a cake, 20 bottles of spirits and electrical items.

On the same evening, nearby Brucciani's was also broken into, with seven litre bottles of alcohol and a chocolate cake stolen, and a window damaged. It left the owner with a £930 bill.

In a victim statement the owner of Moka said he still has not had opportunity to replace the items that had been stolen, and the burglary had cost the business money and affecting staff confidence.

The owner said she is "sick and tired" of finding the cafe broken into as it had been targeted before.

She said she felt unsafe and that "anybody could be in there when I arrive at work".

Stansfield admitted three burglaries but denied a fourth burglary at Wrapchic on Fishergate, which will lie on the file.

Recorder Carwyn Cox said he would step back from the usual sentencing guidelines as the offences formed part of a crime spate for which he had already been jailed in December - but had taken a while to get to court.

He said: " They are serious matters and matters which trouble the court.

"There is a relevant history which should be taken into account.

"It is a departure from the principles of the guidelines but they should have been tried at the same time as the other matters so it's just and appropriate because of the delay."

READ MORE: Pensioner confronted burglar in his home