Burglar caught as he tried to smash his way into Superdry store with a claw hammer at Trinity Leeds

A burglar was arrested moments after he tried to smash his way into a clothing store at a shopping centre in Leeds.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 11:45 am

Mark O'Neill was watched on CCTV cameras by security staff as he used a claw hammer to hit windows at the Superdry store at Trinity Leeds.

O'Neill was locked up for 14 months over the attempted break-in and thefts from cars in Leeds.

Leeds Crown Court heard O'Neill was the subject of a suspended prison sentence when he committed the offences.

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Superdry store, Leeds Trinity.

Ayman Khokhar, prosecuting, said O'Neill was seen using a brick to smash his way into a car parked outside a house in East End Park on April 13 this year.

The owner of the vehicle was told by a neighbour and discovered his dashcam had been taken when he went to inspect the damage.

The total damage to the car was worth around £2,200.

O'Neill was identified as a suspect after forensic officers found his blood in the vehicle.

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The 38-year-old defendant then broke into another car parked outside a business on Jack Lane, Hunslet, on May 21.

The owner returned to his car to find his dashcam had been stolen.

The victim went to a Cash Converters store on Dewsbury Road and asked if anyone had been in to try to sell a dashcam.

A manager confirmed that that someone had just left the store after trying to sell one.

Police were contacted and O'Neill was identified when CCTV footage was reviewed.

O'Neill targeted the Superdry store on August 2 at 3.45am.

Security staff watched as O'Neill used the claw hammer to hit the windows around 20 times. He also ran at a door and tried to force it open.

Police officers arrested O'Neill close to the store and found the weapon nearby.

He was taken into custody where he flooded his cell by blocking the toilet.

He caused further damage by throwing hot chocolate over security cameras.

O'Neill, of Trentham Street, Beeston pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, two counts of theft, criminal damage and breach of a suspended sentence order.

He has previous convictions for burglary and theft.

Stuart Field, mitigating, said O'Neill committed the offences after he split up with his partner and had financial problems.

Mr Field said: "He had a devil may care attitude. He felt he had nothing to live for and that fed into the way he conducted his life.

"He regrets the commission of these offences."