Crisp packet lands thief in hot water

Caught by the short and curlies
Caught by the short and curlies

A CRUNCHY snack cost a Wigan thief his liberty.

Jordan Pyke was arrested near Mesnes Park by police probing a break-in at its pavilion-based ice cream parlour. And the clinching piece of evidence that left the Highfield 20-year-old cheesed off and heading for prison was a bag of Quavers in his pocket.

Wigan and Leigh magistrates heard that a check on the serial number on the packet revealed that it was from a box of the curly potato snacks plundered during the break-in at Frederick’s.

Pyke, of Queen Street, Wigan, who had been jointly charged with two other men who had subsequently pleaded guilty, had denied taking part in the raid but was found guilty after trial.

He claimed the packet of snacks had been given to him by the others when he met up with them later and hadn’t asked where they were from.

At the sentencing this week Pyke admitted having a bladed instrument in a public place after police found a kitchen knife in his hoodie alongside the Quavers.

He was sentenced to a total of 18 weeks in a young offenders’ institution for the burglary, possessing the knife and non-payment of previous court fines.

The court waived a £500 outstanding compensation order owed to his mother after she signalled her agreement to the bench and made no order for costs.

Prosecutor Mike Ardern told the hearing that the ice cream parlour manager had been called to the pavilion last December after the alarm was triggered and found that intruders had forced and damaged two windows to get inside of the expensively restored building.

Papers were thrown around, a cash float had been taken and boxes of crisps and fried potato snacks open and partially emptied.

Police, who were already investigating reports of another disturbance, found the three men nearby acting suspiciously and detained them on suspicion of theft.

He said: “Officers searched all three men and found that they had particularly packets of fried potato snacks - Quavers - in their pockets that matched those taken.

“They gave contradictory accounts of how they came by the snacks and all three were detained,”

Pyke had 13 previous convictions dating back to 2009.

Bob Toppin, defending, urged the court to impose a suspended sentence for a “very unsophisticated burglary.”

He said that the knife was in Pyke’s pocket because he had been cutting some cooked chicken to eat earlier in the evening and had forgotten he had then put it in his pocket.

Mr Toppin said: “He made no attempt to brandish the knife, nobody was threatened and he had no intention os using it.”