A THIRSTY drinker who ran out of refreshments during a weekend binge broke into a pub to get some alcohol – causing £1,000 worth of damage.

Nathan James Williams smashed a window to gain entry to the Elephant and Castle Hotel in Newtown on March 6 last year.

He then loaded a bunch of bottles into a rucksack and left – with magistrates in Welshpool this week told he’d stolen £188 worth of booze.

He was quickly caught as he was identified both by police on CCTV and the rucksack that he used, which was found at his house when he was arrested.

Williams, of Ffordd Eglwys, Newtown, admitted one count of burglary on Tuesday, January 12.

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Welshpool Magistrates' Court

The court heard, however, how the 22-year-old had begun to drastically turn his life around in the last year following the offence – with several glowing references talking about his excellent volunteering work in the local community.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said the burglary occurred at the Broad Street boozer overnight.

“Entry had been gained via a smashed kitchen window and someone was seen on CCTV upstairs in the cocktail bar at around 2am,” she said.

“The defendant was seen going behind bar and then running away with a rucksack. There was £1,000 damage caused and numerous bottles of alcohol were taken. The defendant was identified by CCTV and the rucksack which was found at his home address.

“In interview he said it wasn’t him, that he had been at his father’s address when it happened. But his father said he was asleep at the time and had not known where his son was."

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Dyfed Powys Police

She added that the alcohol was worth £470, although this was later revealed to be based on how much the pub would sell it for, and not the commercial value which was £188.16.

"He did break in and steal the bottles," said defence solicitor Paul Inns. "He is familiar with the building as he has lived in the area a long time and had previously stayed at the hotel.”

Mr Inns read out references written on Williams’ behalf from two Newtown community projects, where Williams has been working over the last 12 months.

“He currently has two jobs, gardening and fixing bikes,” added Mr Inns.

“Life has changed a lot for him. Stuart Owen, who runs the Open Newtown scheme, describes him as a ‘fantastic member of the community’ and an ‘absolute godsend’. He has been working there as a volunteer picking up litter and cleaning up green spaces over the last 12 months.

“Tom Chandler, at Bike to the Future, says ‘Nathan been central to our performance and taken on a mentor role, and has been given a key to the bike shop’.

“It is pleasing to see such glowing references. But, if he continues to commit these sorts of offences, these job opportunities will fall by the wayside.”

Magistrates heard from probation officer Julian Davies, who said: “Mr Williams had been drinking heavily and binge drinking over a few days. He had no money so took the stupid decision to break in. He regrets doing it. He is currently not using alcohol, he does smoke cannabis daily, but is working to reduce that.”

Magistrates ordered Williams to pay compensation of £500 towards the damage at the pub and the £188.16 for the goods stolen.

They also issued Williams with a 12-month community order, which includes 20 rehabilitation activity days, and 100 hours of unpaid work.