Young crook targeted pub after underage drinking row with landlord

Burglar Harry Broughton targeted a pub and two homes
-Credit: (Image: South Yorkshire Police)

A Sheffield burglar was spotted on CCTV counting the cash he had nicked from a pub after its landlord had a row with his mum about underage drinking.

Harry Broughton, 21, had gone to the Victoria Hotel in the Gleadless area of Sheffield on March 29 following the altercation his mother had had with the landlord, who believed a person associated with her was underage.

Sheffield Crown Court heard on Thursday that Broughton, of Heeley Road, had stayed with no issue, but in the early hours of the next morning, when the landlord was drinking with his friends, banged on the door to the pub and threatened to report him for drinking after hours.

Read more: Antisocial teens will be removed from Heckmondwike by police after weeks of trouble and criminal damage

Prosecutor Neil Coxon said: "The complainant told the defendant in no uncertain terms to go away. He didn't really think much more about it and carried on drinking with his friends."

At around 7am the next day however, the landlord noticed that the escape door of the pub was not closed properly and went on to discover bottles of cider and an amount of money was missing. CCTV showed Broughton "acting suspiciously" at around 2am that morning. Mr Coxon said: "He appeared to be looking at something through the windows and at 2.40am could be seen leaving with a case of what appeared to be alcohol."

Broughton was then seen returning on at least two or three occasions and "footage showed him outside the pub appearing to be counting a large amount of money."

The court was told £2,900 in cash was taken alongside 24 bottles of alcohol. Mr Coxon said Broughton had only been out of prison for a short time - having been released from a 27-month sentence for assault occasioning actual bodily harm on February 26.

Harry Broughton burgled the Victoria Hotel in Gleadless, Sheffield
Harry Broughton burgled the Victoria Hotel in Gleadless, Sheffield -Credit:Google Maps

It was said the next incident took place on Rushdale Road in Sheffield on March 29, when Broughton attempted to steal a vehicle belonging to a couple who knew of him as their son was a friend of his brother. Mr Coxon said Broughton had gone to their home under the pretence of wanting to speak to them about his concerns for his younger brother.

He said the couple noted that as he left he took some keys with him, and demanded he give them back, which he did, but he did not return the key to a vehicle outside. He was seen getting into the vehicle but was eventually stopped. Mr Coxon said: "One hour later he called and apologised and offered to pay for any damage."

Just days later on April 10, Broughton turned his attention to Hackthorne Road, where he targeted two properties - the first belonging to a young family who woke to find him in their bedroom. Mr Coxon said the woman first noticed Broughton and woke her partner who gave chase.

He said: "He left the property and the complainants looked around and noted the living room window was now wide open and the previous night it had been left on the latch. They discovered an iPhone and a Samsung phone had been stolen as well as a kitchen knife, a vape and a set of keys. The police were called and CCTV was examined and showed a person fitting the description of the defendant in the area. Forensics found four of his finger prints on the window."

Sheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court -Credit:Katie Pugh

The court heard Broughton had also tried to get into another house on the same road, but the occupant had seen him trying the door to her house and other vehicles. Broughton was eventually arrested and in his interviews gave a prepared statement denying any offending. He was recalled to custody and went on to plead guilty to offences including burglary, attempted burglary and aggravated vehicle taking.

Mitigating, Rebecca Tanner, said he was released from prison in February last year and was soon after asked to leave his home by his father who had his own difficulties and was effectively "sofa surfing." She said Broughton had got into the wrong crowd when he was younger and had started offending when he was 17.

Ms Tanner said: "He tells me he found the custodial environment challenging and at that time [he was serving his last sentence] he didn't envisage he would be troubling the courts again... He is bitterly disappointed in himself... He has still got the support of his family but they have made it absolutely plain to him while he has been in custody that they will not continue to support him if he comes out of prison next time and offends."

His Honour Judge Slater jailed Broughton for three years. He told him: "You have to realise your actions have far-reaching consequences."