Six years' jail after cigarette led police to the identity of Black Country pub burglar
A burglar who broke into pubs across the Black Country, stealing money from pool tables, gambling machines, jukeboxes and charity tins, has been jailed for six years.
Trevor Hollis targeted seven pubs in Dudley, Stourbridge, Brierley Hill and Coseley in less than two weeks, all at night or in the early hours of the morning.
In some cases the landlords or licensees were on the premises, leading a judge to warn of the dangers of that profession.
Hollis, aged 32, of Cheshire Street, Market Drayton, was arrested at the New Wellington pub, in Brettell Lane, Brierley Hill on November 14, 2013.
The landlord had been in bed in a flat above and was woken by a bang, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
He caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage.
In his spate of burglaries he also targeted the King William in Dudley, the Samson & Lion in Stourbridge, the Malt Shovel in Dudley, The Bramford Arms, also in Dudley, and The Starving Rascal, in Stourbridge. He previously pleaded guilty to the six burglaries and also to raiding the pub area of the Painters Arms in Coseley with an accomplice, stealing £100.
He denied a separate charge of burgling the upstairs private area of the Painters Arms, but a jury found him guilty.
Yesterday, the court heard how an intruder, believed not to have been Hollis but rather his accomplice, went upstairs armed with a hammer to steal from the property, leaving the licensee 'distressed'. Mr Robert Cowley, defending at yesterday's hearing, asked the judge to be lenient in his overall sentence, saying: "For the majority of these offences he did plead guilty."
Another of the pubs that was occupied by the landlords when Hollis broke in was The Bramford Arms.
The landlords were woken by the alarm and watched Hollis on a live CCTV feed.
Mr Edward Soulsby, prosecuting, said Hollis got away with two charity boxes containing an unknown sum of money and tried to force open the till.
At the King William he stole £500 from gambling machines and forced open the pool table. At the Malt Shovel he fled with £600 from games machines and £100 from a charity jar. And at the Samson & Lion he broke into games machines and a pool table, getting away with £300, as well as bottles of whiskey, vodka and Disaronno.
But at the Starving Rascal he left behind a cigarette end, which enabled police to trace him through DNA testing.
The court heard he had a string of burglaries on his record, as well as drug offences, dating back to 1998.
Hollis was sentenced to six years and was ordered to pay a £120 victim surcharge.
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