Sleepless night blamed for restaurant crowbar attack

Pizza Express on the corner of Abingdon St and Church St, Blackpool.
Pizza Express on the corner of Abingdon St and Church St, Blackpool.
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A man with a habit of wandering the streets at night unable to sleep tried to break through a wall of a restaurant.

Robert Matthews caused almost £2,000 of damage at Blackpool’s Pizza Express using a crowbar to try and smash his way through the plaster work.

Matthews, 55, of Cambridge Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 20 weeks, and ordered to pay £350 in compensation by Blackpool magistrates.

Sandra Ardern, prosecuting, said Matthews entered Pizza Express through a rear door but was blocked by another door. The incident happened on June 21.

When the manager opened up the following day, he saw a wall had been extensively damaged.

The manager viewed the CCTV which showed Matthews trying to hack his way through the wall with a crowbar. He eventually left without getting through the wall or stealing anything.

The following month the manager recognised Matthews in the street near the restaurant as the man on the CCTV and he was arrested.

Stephen Duffy, defending, said Matthews’ back and foot problems prevented him sleeping at night.

He heard the alarm going off at Pizza Express. He went over and in through an insecure rear door, then failed to get through the plaster panelling on the wall.

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