Posted on Friday 10 March 2023
A burglar who hid in a leisure centre after hours so he could steal alcohol has been jailed.
Ashley Fairhurst concealed himself in a storeroom as staff were locking up Ferryhill Leisure Centre on February 18.
The 33-year-old then raided the building and stole alcohol and food from the bar area before leaving via a fire exit just before 2am.
An alarm notification was sent to the centre manager who initially thought the door had been thrown open from the wind but when he attended and realised internal doors were also open, alerted the police.
Fairhurst, of Stephenson Street, Ferryhill, also burgled Harry’s Mini Market, in Ferryhill, just a few days later after climbing through a hole in the roof just after 7am.
Inside, he stuffed his pockets with vapes but thanks to a speedy report to police, he was caught in the act and arrested on suspicion of burglary.
And after reviewing CCTV footage, officers further arrested him on suspicion of the leisure centre burglary.
He appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on February 25 where he pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
A/Sergeant Mick Moody, of Ferryhill Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "This incident has caused a great deal of anxiety to staff members from the leisure centre after learning that someone had been hiding in the building with unknown intentions.
“Thankfully, due to a swift call to police from a member of the public regarding the second burglary, police were able to attend and detain Fairhurst and link him to both crimes and he is now off the streets.”