A BURGLAR who stole jewellery worth £15,000 from a Carlisle antiques shop twice tried to pawn it, asking to be paid £1,000, a court heard.

Matthew James Gray, 40, then made a futile attempt to discard the stolen jewellery as police chased him through Whitehaven town centre and eventually managed to arrest him for the July 24 raid at Cathedral Antiques in Carlisle city centre.

The defendant, of Windebrowe Avenue, Keswick, admitted burglary.

Neil White, prosecuting at Carlisle’s Rickergate court, described how Gray visited the antiques shop on July 23, posing as a customer.

He was noticed as he browsed in the shop because of his “distinctive” necklace and trainers. He was also carrying a large rucksack.

Staff saw him spend time scrutinising jewellery.

At 4.30am the next morning, the shop’s alarm was activated. A large quantity of items – mostly jewellery – was taken.

When police checked the shop’s CCTV cameras they found clear images of the defendant – both during the burglary and during his visit the previous day.

The defendant subsequently made two attempts to pawn the jewellery he stole.

When he had been caught and arrested, police searched him and in his pocket found two antique brooches which had been part of his haul of stolen goods.

Mr White said: “His phone was found to have a picture on it of a tray of rings and brooches [from the shop]. Clearly he had been eyeing them up. The total value of the goods he stole was £15,140. There was also damage to the shop.”

The lawyer said it had already been a bad year for the shop, with takings down because of the pandemic. Jewellery worth £5,000 which was among the items stolen was not recovered, he said.

The court was told the defendant had a relatively limited criminal history. It included offences of drugs possession and being drunk and disorderly in 2000.

Jeff Smith, for Gray, accepted it was extremely unlikely that magistrates would deal with such a case. They sent the case to Carlisle Crown Court for a sentencing hearing on December 15.