Man burgled his own cafe of Fanta and sweets

Billy Knowles, inset, was caught after breaking into a cafe on Knifesmithgate, which he once owned
Billy Knowles, inset, was caught after breaking into a cafe on Knifesmithgate, which he once owned

A disgruntled ex-business owner broke into the cafe he once ran to steal sweets and soft drinks, a court heard.

Billy Knowles was suffering a breakdown after a bereavement when he attempted to burgle the Victoria cafe and bakery in Knifesmithgate, Derby Crown Court was told on Friday August 14.

The 43-year-old of Chapel Street, Whittington Moor had inherited an interest in the business after his mother died, and subsequently sold it to his mother’s husband, Roy Knowles.

“Mr Knowles was not a successful business man and Roy Knowles purchased his interest,” said the prosecution

“It appears there was some bad feeling,”

So in May 2015, the defendant tried to ‘get back’ at the cafe’s owner, and was seen kicking down the front door of the premises.

He told others who saw him that he was ‘doing some shopping’, and emerged from the cafe shortly after with a lady’s dress, bottles of Fanta, and some money which was the contents of the tip box.

Then on a second occasion, on Saturday, May 9 he burgled the Victoria again - kicking down the door a second time in the early hours of the morning to steal items of confectionery.”

“He was arrested five minutes later, and was found by police at a bench in town with two bottles of soft drink and chocolate bars, with a total value of £6,” heard the court.

Down on his luck, Billy was an intelligent, hard working man before his life was upturned by bereavement in his family, the court heard.

“He speaks three languages, Dutch and German, and has spent a lot of time abroad, working as part of a team building houses.”

But Knowles had become addicted to legal drugs and was taking Black Mamba, a synthetic form of cannabis, regularly.

Defence counsel Chris Brewin said: “What seems to have sparked the most recent offending is recent bereavement.

“He developed a death wish.”

Having already spent 15 weeks in custody, the man was making changes to his life, and had started training every day to make himself physically fit, and aims to pick up the pieces’ when he is released said his defence counsel.

Recorder Dominic Nolan QC sentenced him to 10 months in prison despite the low value of the thefts.

“These offences are burglary, plain and simple,” he said.

“This was a misguided way of thrashing out your grievances with the owner of the business.”