POLICE called to a butcher's found two men in the walk-in freezer, helping themselves to meat worth £350.

One raider, Patrick Ashley Paul Robinson, 23, who claimed a boarded up window was open after the wood became partly loose, was told by Burnley magistrates he should not have gone in to steal, but should have passed by and maybe reported the damage.

Robinson, 23, of Charles Street, Nelson, was put on probation for 12 months and ordered to look at reducing his alcohol problem.

He was also fined £50 for breach of conditional discharge. He admitted burglary on December 29.

Neil White, prosecuting, said a large quantity of meat and £50 cash was taken from Mellin's butchers, Nelson.

Police arrived and found a previously boarded up window had been forced open. Two men were in the walk-in freezer and were left with little option but to make full and frank admissions to police.

The kitchen of the shop had been extensively ransacked and a telephone ripped from its socket.

Brian Irlam, defending, said the defendant had been out drinking with his accomplice and had drunk a considerable amount.

He was worse the wear and when he was walking home with his accomplice, they heard banging. That turned out to be a board fixed to a window that had become partly detached and was banging in the wind.

They went in and started to get some meat from the freezer for personal use.

Robinson did not do any ransacking and never touched a telephone.

He had been in the butchers only a minute or two when police arrived.

Mr Irlam went on: "He appreciated it was totally wrong. He knows he should not have got involved, but had too much to drink.

"Help rather than punishment would be the order of the day. This was an isolated incident. He is certainly not a regular burglar."

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