A BURGLAR with more than 100 previous convictions for “theft and dishonesty” offences has been jailed after he was caught on CCTV stealing a till from a town centre restaurant.

Tony Cartwright, 44, was filmed skulking around Fai’s Oriental restaurant, in St Botolph’s Street, Colchester, in a daytime raid.

Following the break-in, carried out shortly after 4pm on February 22, a spokeswoman for the restaurant said the theft of a three-figure sum of cash and a printer had come at a time when businesses were facing difficulties.

She said the crooks gained access through a back door. Speaking to the Gazette at the time, she said: “There have been quite a lot of thefts, it’s not just us and it is a bit alarming.

“It happened at about 3pm. The restaurant is shut at lunchtime.

“They took just the till and the printer.”

The spokeswoman confirmed the police later recovered the till and found it was stained with blood.

“They found it near Priory Street,” she said.

“The officer said they found the till even before we reported the crime.

“It was reported at 4pm when came into work, there was blood on the till.”

Previously during lockdown, the restaurant had helped to deliver food and drink to NHS staff and care workers.

The spokeswoman added: “We were taking food out and we used to do it every week.

“It has been hard times on a lot of people, you don’t do that.

“It is shocking and it is an inconvenience more than anything else, as we now don’t have a printer.”

Serving prisoner Cartwright, of HMP Chelmsford, appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on November 15, where he admitted burglary.

He also admitted to a separate raid on the Quality Diner restaurant, in St Botolph’s Street, Colchester, carried out on February 25.

The court was told the offences were committed while Cartwright was on licence for a previous conviction, with the burglar previously before the courts 116 times for “theft and dishonesty” offences.

He was sentenced to 32 weeks imprisonment and ordered to pay £130 in compensation.


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