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Tarporley chocolate shop burglar jailed for two and a half years

Patrick Taylor, 23, burgled The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop in Tarporley three times in seven months

The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop

A prolific burglar who is said to have ‘shattered’ the sense of security in a village has been jailed for more than two years.

Patrick Taylor of Wrexham Road in Ridley was ‘caught red handed’ after ransacking The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop in Tarporley on September 1 and 8, stealing hundreds of pounds worth of cash.

The 23-year-old was sentenced to 30 months in prison at Chester Crown Court today (November 4) for two counts of burglary as well as two counts of disqualified driving, driving with no insurance, three counts of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, and failing to attend court.

He was also sentenced for failing to comply with a community order after being sentenced for a burglary at the Tarporley chocolate shop in March earlier this year.

The court heard how officers, conducting enquiries into the second burglary at the chocolate shop on September 1, had their attention drawn to a Jaguar parked at a Spar garage in Tarporley.

The broken glass in the front door to The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop following a burglary in September

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Prosecuting barrister Paulinus Barnes said as an officer approached the car, Taylor ‘bolted and ran across the road into the side of a passing car’.

Taylor, who was chased by officers, was arrested for driving while disqualified, but became aggressive and began to ‘struggle violently’.

An off duty police officer who happened to be passing by assisted officers trying to restrain Taylor, who then assaulted and verbally abused two officers.

While on bail for burglary and five other charges, Taylor struck again and burgled the shop for the third time on September 8.

Mr Barnes said Taylor was ‘caught red handed’ by officers, but managed to escape after being detained.

He was charged and was due to appear at Chester Magistrates Court on September 13 but failed to turn up.

The following day, Taylor was located hiding in a private garden on Racecouse Lane in Cotebrook, where he broke another officer's nose who attempted to restrain him.

Spilled cutlery on the floor at The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop following a burglary in September

His Honour Judge Patrick Thompson described the attack as a ‘nasty assault’.

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Taylor, a qualified electrician, sat in the dock in a grey tracksuit and laughed as the evidence was heard, showing very little remorse for his actions.

Charles Hardy, who runs the chocolate shop with his wife, Sandra, said the weeks following the burglaries were ‘horrendous’ for his staff and for the community and said the ‘relaxed atmosphere of the village and the sense of security felt by the Tarporley community had been shattered’ following the burglaries.

Mr Hardy said: “Patrick Taylor is an extremely unpleasant individual. He has caused us considerable trouble over the past two years at a considerable financial cost.

“I trust that the sentence will prove to act as both a punishment for the offences committed and a deterrent to both Patrick Taylor re-offending and also to any in our community who may have felt that the recent behaviour of Patrick Taylor was in some way acceptable.

“The last two years have been difficult for so many in the Tarporley community but particularly so for my staff, my wife Sandra and for myself.

Spilled cutlery on the floor at The Old Fire Station Chocolate Shop following a burglary in September

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“For the good of the whole community, individuals like Patrick Taylor must be confronted rather than ignored.

“The community does not have to accept any unacceptable behaviour of any kind. It need not be ‘just a sign of the times’ or ‘the way of the world today’.”

His Honour Judge Patrick Thompson said the spate of burglaries ‘must have been been very distressing for Mr Hardy’.

“Running a small business is difficult enough these days without being burgled a number of times,” he said.

Speaking directly to Taylor, the judge added: “Prior to this this year, you kept out of trouble and led a productive life.

“But your life has gone seriously off the rails, probably because of excess use of cannabis and alcohol.

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“Cannabis makes you lazy, eventually psychotic and then leads to paranoia but in your case, it has made you a burglar.

“You told me you want to change - I hope you do otherwise your future will involve prison if you don’t sort yourself out.”

Gareth Roberts, defending, told the court Taylor has begun the process of rehabilitating himself and admits cannabis and alcohol have played a ‘significant’ role in his offending but said Taylor was ‘extremely angry with the world at the time’.

Mr Hardy added he and his wife have been ‘delighted’ with the ‘fantastic’ support they have received from Cheshire Police and the Tarporley and wider community since the burglaries took place.

He added: “There is so much goodwill and a fantastic generosity of spirit in the area.

“We are thankful there are so few unpleasant individuals like Patrick Taylor.”

His Honour Judge Patrick Thompson suspended Taylor from driving for another three years and said he will serve at least half of his 30 month sentence.

PC Matthew Uren said: “Not only was he showing disregard for the courts by ignoring his community service he was sentenced to as well as ignoring his driving ban, he targeted a small village business repeatedly and assaulted officers.

“He’s showed flagrant disregard for justice and has assaulted officers in the course of their duty to uphold the law.

“Seeing he is safely behind bars should hopefully bring some comfort to those affected by his crimes.”

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