Businessman beat man he mistook for Blackpool shop burglar

Bjorn Beyl
Bjorn Beyl
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A businessman who burst into a flat and attacked a man he mistakenly believed was a thief has been jailed for 11 years.

Bjorn Beyl, 36, of Simpson Street, Blackpool, pictured inset, entered Richard Nolan’s home on Reads Avenue, Blackpool, armed with a baseball bat, following a theft at his partner’s shop, Yummy Tummy, in St Annes Road, South Shore, two days earlier.

Mr Nolan, who shouted that he was not the offender, was repeatedly struck on his head as Beyl demanded: “Give me a name.” The victim ran into the street bleeding heavily, and was left with a gaping head wound which needed stitching at hospital, Preston Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Lisa Worsley said the incident unfolded at 10.30am on June 19, after a burglary at another shop on Woodland Road, where police officers and a police student were examining the scene.

She said: “A BMW arrived driven by Mr Beyl. A scenes of crime officer heard him and an unknown male talking to the owner, Kate, about a burglary at her sandwich shop and also discussing other burglaries in the neighbourhood.

“The student saw Beyl looking at a video on Kate’s phone which apparently showed those who were responsible.

“On watching the video the defendant clearly became angry. During the course of the discussion a Vauxhall Insignia had arrived with two more men who remain unidentified.

“Miss Ridley, the CSI officer, heard one man saying he knew who was responsible and concluded the group of men were going to sort it out themselves. She notified police they were going to the Palatine Road area.”

The court heard a witness saw the two cars arrive, and Beyl run into the house, where Mr Nolan was in bed.

Ms Worlsey continued: “He describes Mr Beyl as very angry and that he started shouting about his shop being burgled and blaming him for doing it. He then started hitting him with the baseball bat.”

Beyl (inset) later admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and possession of a weapon.

Beyl’s co-defendant, George Morgan, 43, of Chads Road, Blackpool, has pleaded guilty to affray and theft of Nolan’s mobile phone but failed to attend his sentencing yesterday.

Beyl has no convictions in the UK, where he has lived for six years, but has 30 previous convictions in Belgium and Spain.

Defending, Rachel Woods said: “This offence was borne out of a sense of frustration on his part and his perception there was lack of interest or activity by police to pursue a thorough investigation into the culprits responsible for a string of commercial burglaries occurring in the few days prior to this incident. He’s effectively taken the law into his own hands.”

She said Beyl had phoned police with names and addresses of people he believed were responsible and after seeing CCTV footage of the June 19 burglary he believed the victim was one of those responsible.

Recorder Paul Taylor said he did not regard it as mitigation.

Beyl and his partner cried as he said: “ There is no excuse for the defendant to take the law into his own hands. The proper course of action was to inform the police and provide whatever evidence he had to identify the perpetrator.”

He said the police had been given no opportunity to carry out an investigation as the break-in was only two days earlier.