Thief walked into unlocked bank and stole phones — (Bolton News)

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The Bolton News

Wednesday 12th October 2011

A THIEF walked into a bank and stole three mobile phones ­ after staff went home and left the front door unlocked, a court heard.

Bolton Magistrates’ Court was told that a member of staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge, thought they had locked the door when they left on Friday, July 29.

But at 5.30pm the following day someone using the cash machine saw a man ­ later identified as Timothy Pritchard­ approach the front of the bank on a bike and walk in by simply pushing the door.

He then left by the same way and cycled off, the court was told.

Police were called and went into the bank, along with a member of staff. Pritchard was identified as the burglar after officers looked at the CCTV footage from the bank.

When he was arrested, Pritchard said he had been told the bank had been left insecure and he went to have a look.

He admitted that he walked in and took three mobile phones, worth a total of £150.

He said he was aware the bank was closed on a Saturday and that he was entering as a trespasser.

Pritchard, aged 37, of Watford Close, Halliwell, pleaded guilty to burglary other than a dwelling.

Colleen Gallagher, defending, said: “The defendant was on his way to the shops when he was stopped by two youths who told him that bank was unlocked and the door was open.

“He was inquisitive about this and he was nearby, so he went down and it was open.”

The court was told he was suffering from depression and took too much of his medication, which had an adverse effect on his judgement.

Malcolm Bristow, chairman of the bench, said: “This is an extremely unusual story. I have never heard of a bank being left unlocked and being entered. It is beyond my imagination.”

Pritchard was given a six month community order, including a three-month curfew.

He was ordered to pay £85 costs and £150 compensation.

The Royal Bank of Scotland declined to comment.