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Jail for ‘spectacularly unsuccessful’ thief after failed raids on Perth bakery and pizza shop

Tower Bakery in Shore Street, Perth
John Hayton targeted the Tower Bakery in Shore Street, Perth

A “spectacularly unsuccessful” thief has been jailed for attempted raids on two Perth food businesses.

John Hayton sneaked into the family run Tower Bakery’s headquarters on Shore Street.

He also tried to break into the city’s Pizza Connection on West Mill Street, while nearby residents looked on.

On both occasions, the 49-year-old left empty handed.

Hayton, who also admitted having a knife in Morrison’s supermarket, was jailed for 18 months when he appeared at Perth Sheriff Court.

Sheriff William Wood told him: “One of the things that saves you from a lengthier custodial sentence is the fact that your attempts to steal things were so spectacularly unsuccessful.

“You know fine well what the consequences are for breaking into places.”

Rummaged through bakery office

Fiscal depute Lora Apostolova said there were no staff at the Tower Bakery outlet at 3am on October 11.

“It is normal routine for various staff members, including drivers and bakers, to come and go from the building in the early hours of the morning,” she said.

“The front door has a four-digit security code.

“It is believed that on this occasion the door had not closed properly and was insecure.”

Hayton let himself in through the front door.

“He went into the canteen and switched on the light so he could rummage in a box,” said Ms Apostolova.

“Next he went into the office area and used a screwdriver, or similar item, to force open filing drawers and a locked drawer.”

She said: “The accused also rummaged through insecure cupboards containing documents.

“A small safe is bolted to the office door. He tried pulling at the safe, but was unsuccessful.”

Staff arrived for work just after 8.30am and called police.

“They found a blue glove on the floor which appeared to be foreign to the locus,” the fiscal depute said.

Hayton was identified by CCTV.

Ms Apostolova confirmed nothing was stolen from the bakery, but about £50 of damage was caused.

Aborted pizza break-in

The court also heard at about 2.30am on September 15, residents spotted Hayton at the rear of Pizza Connection, in West Mill Street.

He was seen trying to force open the back doors with a metal pole.

At one point, he picked up a stone and used it try to sharpen his pole.

He then tried the doors again, before jumping over a wall and into a neighbouring car park.

Knife found in Morrison’s

In June 2021, Hayton drew the attention of security staff at Morrisons’ supermarket.

He was seen walking to the exit with a bottle of juice, which a worker believed he had not paid for.

Hayton refused to pay for the bottle and was escorted out of the shop.

A member of the public then approached the security desk and told staff: “A knife has just fallen down his trouser leg.”

At the exit doors, a stainless steel knife with a four inch blade was found on the ground.

Call for drug treatment

Hayton, who appeared in court via video link, admitted having a blade in Morrisons, attempting to break in to Pizza Connection with intent to steal and forcing open drawers at the Tower Bakery, again with intent to steal.

Solicitor David Holmes said there was “no actual gain” as a result of his client’s offending.

“His record is characterised by dishonesty rather than violence,” he said.

“He does hope to get involved in significant drug counselling.”

Hayton, listed as a prisoner in Perth, has previous convictions for acts of dishonesty and drugs offences.

In December 2018, he smashed his way into Beale’s department store in Perth city centre and made off with more than £4,000 of perfume.

But he was caught after dropping his hammer at the scene.

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