Burglar targeted Coton Orchard Garden Center and used slice of cake
A burglar has twice targeted a garden center and once used a slice of cake, a court has heard.
Homeless Nicholas McRae first struck at the Coton Orchard Garden Center in the early hours of Tuesday, April 23.
The 63-year-old man smashed a downstairs window with a hammer, which was later recovered at the scene.
He climbed out the window but cut himself in the process and left blood at the scene, Cambridge Crown Court has learned.
McRae approached the post office area and attempted to use the hammer to break the glass, but to no avail.
Instead, he walked over to the cafe and forced the cash register open. There was no money in it, so McRae took a tip jar next to the cash register, with Â£ 2.50 of change, a bottle of Fanta, and a slice of cake.
He then left the scene through the same broken window. He was wearing a high visibility jacket but left it there.
McRae also left blood on the hammer and in other areas around the workshop, the court heard.
Five days later, in the early hours of Sunday April 28, police were called to report an ongoing burglary at the same garden center.
This time, McRae used a metal crowbar, which he then left behind, to open the automatic doors.
Once inside, McRae stole two charity boxes from behind the cash register and two more charity boxes from an upstairs office. He left the premises through the same automatic doors.
Police arrived at the scene and found McRae hiding in the woods adjacent to Madingley Road – a short distance from the garden center.
He was arrested on suspicion of burglary and had with him a black backpack containing the four stolen charity boxes.
In an interview with police, McRae immediately admitted to the two break-ins and told officers he was sleeping rough at the time of the offenses.
In a previous hearing, McRae pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and was sentenced in Cambridge Crown Court until Thursday, May 30, where he was sentenced to 32 months in prison.
PC Dan Harper, who investigated, said: âMcRae brazenly targeted the garden center twice, even using a slice of cake, a bottle of soda and charity boxes.
âUnfortunately for him, he made a series of mistakes that allowed us to forensically link him to the crimes.
âThe fight against burglary is one of the priorities of our force, because the impact can be significant and lasting for the victims. “
Anyone with information about the burglary should call the police on 101 or report online at the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website.
You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.