A PROLIFIC burglar broke into a top North East private school and stole £2,000, a court has heard.
Shaun Cruddas was only found after he cut himself on the window he smashed to get into Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School and left a trail of blood on the floors and walls around the building.
The 33-year-old, who was released last year after being jailed for eight years in 2007 for two burglaries at a Northumberland farmhouse and cottage and assisting an offender in a series of armed robberies across Tyneside, broke the kitchen window of the Jesmond school on a Sunday morning before making his way to the catering manager’s office, a court heard.
Once inside, he ransacked the room and stole a box containing £2,000 cash before continuing to search the rest of the building, leaving a trail of blood from his cut hand.
The break-in was discovered after the burglar alarm sounded and the security company contacted the school’s caretaker, who immediately made his way to the scene to see what the problem was, a court was told.
Once there, he discovered the smashed window, ransacked office and trail of blood and contacted police.
Cruddas, of Derwentwater Road, Gateshead, was traced from his blood and a fingerprint left in the girls’ toilets.
He pleaded guilty to burglary at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
Tracey Plant, prosecuting, said: “At 7am on Sunday, October 28, the Royal Grammar School caretaker received a telephone call from the school’s alarm company saying the alarm had been activated.
“He attended the school and finds a window above the kitchen door entrance had been smashed.
“He checked the kitchen area and found a trail of blood on the floor. He then found the window to the door of the catering manager’s office had also been smashed.
“Inside, he saw cash scattered on the floor, as well as other items.”
The court heard the caretaker then found more blood and the walls and floors of parts of the rest of the building, including the girls’ toilet.
A scenes of crime officer attended and got a fingerprint from the blood in the female toilets, which was soon identified by police to belong to Cruddas.
He was arrested and admitted the offence during interview, saying he thought he’d stolen £1,000, some of which he’d dropped in Exhibition Park as he fled and some he spent.
Neil Connell, defending, told the court Cruddas had been on a methadone programme when he was released on prison and had decided voluntarily to take a dramatic reduction in the prescription in order to get a driving licence. It had resulted in him taking valium at the time of the burglary.
He said: “He was released from a lengthy prison sentence over a year ago and he’s remained out of trouble for the majority of that time.
“He was on a methadone prescription of 75ml but he decided to drastically reduce that amount because he wanted a driving licence to increase his chances of employment. He brought the methadone down too quickly and had a brief period of time when he was taking valium off the street. That is when this offence occurred. He has since been taken back up to the appropriate level.”
Because of Cruddas’s previous criminal record, District Judge Stephen Earl sent the case to Newcastle Crown Court for sentence. Cruddas was bailed until then with a condition not to enter Jesmond.