A prolific thief has avoided jail after burgling a well-known bar in Darlington town centre.

John Kirk, from Middlesbrough, was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two burglaries and fraud by false representation.

The 53-year-old, who has issues with drug and alcohol addiction, broke into Macy Brown’s Cocktail Bar, on Grange Road, on April 21 this year and took several hundred pounds of cash from the till.

He was later arrested after being identified from CCTV footage.

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Just two days after appearing before magistrates for that crime, he committed a further offence, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Harley, prosecuting, said Kirk had entered an apartment in Darlington where he stole a Mac Book and a set of bank cards which he preceded to use, spending quantities in shops including Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

He was arrested again as a result of being caught on CCTV footage.

A statement was read out to the court from the victim of the second lot of offences.

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Judge Andrew Sutcliffe said: “The crime has caused him a huge amount of aggravation and losing his expensive Mac Book Air and the data on it. It has caused him distress.”

Kirk, of Whicklow Street, who has 61 convictions for 243 offences, 109 of which were for theft and 34 for burglaries, was sentenced from the health wing of prison after recently undergoing surgery.

Emma Williams, mitigating, said her client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and had already been in custody since May 9.

She added the defendant is originally from County Durham and was “isolated” as a result of moving to Middlesbrough and had been drinking to excess.

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Kirk previously pleaded guilty to all three offences.

Due to Kirk’s history of drug and alcohol addiction a prison sentence would not be appropriate, probation services said. He also has medical issues and has unstable accommodation.

Judge Sutcliffe handed Kirk a 12 month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years.

He was also made the subject of a community order and will have to carry out 15 rehabilitation activity days.

He said: “I implore you not to commit any further offences and to do what probation services ask of you.”

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