A burglar was caught red-handed in a Scarborough fish merchants’ lobster shed - but claimed he was a fan of shellfish and wanted to buy a fishy treat.
Martin Rose, 45, sneaked into the large shellfish depot at Edward Jenkinson Ltd through an open door, angling for a raid on cupboards where fishermen’s wages were kept, York Crown Court heard.
The long-haired intruder, wearing a hat and scarf, had a pootle around the large storage area, containing tanks for lobsters and crabs, but was spotted loitering around the wages drawers by Jenkinson employee John Aitken, who asked Rose: “What are you doing pal?”
Rose, who was reaching for the door to the wages cupboard, told Mr Aitken he was just looking at some empty cement bags underneath the cupboards.
Mr Aitken and a colleague, who had been working in the shellfish tanks, duly hauled Rose out of the building at West Pier, whereupon the self-proclaimed lobster fan snapped: “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Rose scuttled off but was later arrested after Mr Aitkens’ colleague identified him to police.
He was charged with burglary with intent to steal but denied the offence, which occurred in January 2015.
During his trial at the Crown Court this week, unemployed Rose, of Holbeck Hill, Scarborough, claimed his real intention was to buy one of the company’s highly-rated marine delicacies.
But CCTV footage of the incident, which happened at about 9am on January 30 last year, showed Rose pacing shiftily around the building before sneaking in through an open door just after the manager had dropped the wages off.
Prosecutor Michael Cahill said the two lobster packers jumped out of the tanks after seeing Rose head for the wages area.
“When he was asked what he was doing, he put his hands down, grabbed an empty cement bag and said, ‘I’m just having a look around’,” added Mr Cahill.
He said the employees knew Rose was looking for money and one of them took the intruder’s scarf off to get a better look at him. Rose was instantly recognised because one of his family members used to work at the wholesaler.
The jury saw through Rose’s fishy tale and found him guilty as charged. As the foreman read out the verdict, Rose shook his head and rolled his eyes.
Despite Rose’s obvious indignation at the verdict, Judge Guy Kearl QC said the evidence against him had been “overwhelming”.
However, he adjourned sentence after hearing that Rose was a carer for his seriously-ill partner.
“But you should be under no illusion - you will receive a custodial sentence of one form or another,” Mr Kearl told the pony-tailed defendant.
Rose will be sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on April 6.