A serial thief jailed for burgling Cadoxton Conservative Club in Barry, Wales, for the second time, claimed he only entered the club to turn off the alarms after someone else had broken in. The offence marked Stephen Graham Haggard's fourth offence in Vere Street, the street he was also living in at the time of the offence, in February. Haggard, 39, was caught on CCTV gaining entry into the Conservative Street club via a window and then smashing the alarms with a hammer before breaking into a gambling machine.
After being arrested at his Vere Street address, just a few doors away from the Conservative Club, Haggard tried to claim that he had been woken by the sounds of the alarms which he then decided to go and investigate, mallet in hand.
Prosecutor Phil Hewitt said: "He claims he realised the premises had been broken into and for some reason he started smashing the alarm sensors thinking that might help."
Haggard pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary but maintained that he had initially entered the club to turn off the alarms, merely breaking into the fruit machine after spotting an opportunity.
Cardiff Crown Court heard on Thursday, March 3 how Haggard could have stolen up to £500 from the fruit machine he managed to open, although it is unclear how many coins were actually taken. He was unsuccessful in accessing two other machines but did steal a quantity of alcohol and other items.
Judge Keith Thomas heard how the offence was Haggard's 43rd conviction for 139 offences, 26 of which are burglary.
Mr Hewitt explained that Haggard had previously burgled Cadoxton Conservative Club in 2001 and also Barry Dockers club, on the same street, in 2005.
In 2014 he also burgled a house on Vere Street. He had been out of prison just six months when he broke in to the Conservative Club on February 2.
Sentencing Haggard to 32 months in jail, Judge Thomas said: "You took a mallet and you went equipped for burglary.
"Your claim that you went to smash up the alarms because they were disturbing your sleep is something I disregard entirely."