Town 'safer place' after 'Tasered' thief jailed
NEWQUAY is now a "safer place" after a prolific thief was 'Tasered', arrested and jailed for a bungled burglary at the town's new Tesco Express.
Martin Ward, 39, and an accomplice charged at two police officers and a police dog after they were disturbed during a raid on the East Street store on November 1 this year.
But he was stopped in his tracks by the 50,000-volt stun gun, which left him "immobilised" on the ground. His pal leapt over him and was bitten by the dog before making his escape.
Ward initially denied burglary but later pleaded guilty, admitting he had been inside the store for three hours and had broken his spade trying to prise open the shutter on the cigarette kiosk.
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Judge Graham Cottle said Ward's string of 43 previous convictions "reads like a small novel" and jailed him for 30 months at Truro Crown Court.
News of Ward's imprisonment was met with delight this week by the resort's police inspector, Dave Meredith.
He told the Cornish Guardian: "I have known Martin Ward for about ten years. Throughout this period his criminal lifestyle has led to a series of convictions and custodial sentences for a variety of offences.
"This sentence reflects the severity of the offence and also his previous criminal convictions.
"Newquay is a safer place with him behind bars."
In his police report, seen by this paper, arresting officer PC Mark Atkins said police had been alerted to a disturbance at the mini-supermarket.
Armed with a Taser, he and dog handler PC David Hawkins heard "banging" within the store and a "rattling" noise at the rear fire door. They then found a hole at the back of the building.
"Two offenders then burst out through the door and charged at me," said PC Atkins. "My Taser had already been drawn and was deployed at (Ward) resulting in total immobilisation and then arrest. The other offender jumped over Ward and was chased by the dog unit but following a bite from the dog the offender made his escape."
He said the non-lethal Taser gun was the "most suitable tactic in the situation" as it was not known if the burglars were armed.
Ward, who was said to be living close to the East Street Tesco, was checked over by paramedics after being immobilised – standard procedure following a Taser discharge.
He later revealed in court that he had been in the store for some three hours. His first comment to arresting officers was: "How did you know we were in there? We have been in there for more than three hours."
Police confiscated £475 in cash that was found on him. There was no CCTV evidence as the two burglars had disabled the alarm.