Suspended sentence for bungling burglar who knocked himself out after crashing stolen quad bike

Raceview Mill.

A BUNGLING burglar who broke into Raceview Mill in Broughshane and stole a quad bike in the middle of the night but crashed nearby and knocked himself out and had to be taken to hospital has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Christopher Richard Tuff (38), with an address listed as Whinsmoor Park, Broughshane, previously pleaded guilty to a number of charges including stealing a quad and a speaker system.

He also admitted having cannabis; causing criminal damage to a quad bike and pleaded guilty to driving a quad bike whilst unlicensed and whilst uninsured.

He had been accused of driving whilst unfit and failing to provide a specimen and was charged with going equipped for burglary by having a pair of gloves but those three charges were withdrawn.

A prosecutor told a previous sitting of Ballymena Magistrates Court that after 3.50 in the morning, Tuff was found unconscious “hanging off the quad” which he crashed and whilst he was at hospital cannabis was found during a search of his house.

A leaf blower and microwave had been loaded onto a trailer during the incident at the mill.

Defence barrister Stephen Law previously told the court the defendant had “a very poor recollection” of what happened at Raceview Mill and that he “over indulged in illicit substances”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick told Tuff earlier this year: “There is every good reason why you should go to prison”.

He said the defendant had a very poor relevant record for burglary and theft.

The judge said there was a small glimmer of hope in a Probation report.

Not without some hesitation, the judge added, he was going to defer sentencing for six months.

He told Tuff he must not re-offend and had to engage positively with his GP and attend mental health sessions.

The defendant returned to court this week where Mr Law said Tuff had not re-offended or taken drugs and had been getting counselling.

The court heard the defendant had been injured after falling from a balcony.

Judge Broderick said Tuff had honoured the conditions he set earlier this year and added that continued attendance at counselling “may well prevent you from re-offending”.

Tuff was also sentenced for other offences – driving whilst disqualified in Larne without insurance nor a licence.

He was given a six months prison term, suspended for two years and banned from driving for a year and fined £100.

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