A pair of bungling burglars in Leeds were recently caught red-handed by police as they attempted to force entry into Mecca Bingo on Balm Road in Hunslet. Rather than knock at the door (number 4), the troublesome twosome used a crowbar to try and break in, but were cornered by the local police force after triggering the venue’s security alarm system.
Rather than finding them armed with a big win, when the boys in blue confronted balaclava-clad Stephen Littler and Shaun Murphy, they were holding nothing more than screwdrivers and iron bars, and instead of having a fancy getaway car parked round the corner, the pair had enlisted the help of a trolley jack as their partner in crime. The two men tried to get up and run (31), but were stopped in their tracks after a grapple with a police dog, which left Murphy injured.
At Leeds Crown Court, the jury heard that the men had made their way from their homes in Manchester to plunder the Mecca Bingo premises in Leeds at around 3.30am on 12th April 2012. Both men pleaded guilty to the charges, which is no surprise considering that they were caught in the act!
Littler is reported to have a criminal record for several previous commercial burglaries, where he had targeted gaming machines after removing alarms and extractors.
Murphy has notched up an impressive 178 prior offences resulting in 38 previous court appearances. His lawyer appealed to the court saying that the 33-year-old had been left unable to work since the failed break-in due to the dog bite he received, and that his client “had a lot to lose” for what was a “seriously stupid” error in judgement. Stephen Littler’s lawyer stated that his client came from a “normal family” and that his children were heartbroken at the thought of him going to prison.
The court heard that the two had deliberately travelled to the out-of-town bingo hall in the dead of night, knowing that they were less likely to be noticed.
The presiding judge sentenced Murphy and Littler to two years, two months and two years, five months respectively, telling them that their failed master-plan was “professional offending.”
We guess the moral of this story is that bingo can be unlucky for some (number 13), so it’s always best to play the traditional way if you want to be a winner, by buying your tickets online or at your local club.