A HOTEL owner foiled a night-time raider's attempt to break into his city centre business’s safe, York Crown Court heard.

Michael Gary Robinson, 52, entered the Minister Hotel in Bootham at 4am on November 14, said James Howard, prosecuting.

At the time, its owner Tony Kaye was sleeping upstairs.

“He was woken by a loud noise coming from downstairs,” said the prosecutor.

Going downstairs, the hotelier found a safe had been pulled out of its place and was lying on the ground.

He saw Robinson run out of the reception area.

The burglar was carrying a holdall type bag.

“Mr Kaye grabbed hold of the bag but the defendant broke free,” said Mr Howard.

Robinson made his escape from the hotel, but CCTV captured his movements.

He was seen throwing shoes into the river at Scarborough Bridge and was arrested shortly afterwards.

Robinson, of Beaconsfield Street, Acomb, pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for three years.

After the case, Mr Kaye said: “It was something anyone else could have done.  “I just chased him off the premises.”

He revealed that even if Robinson had succeeded in breaking into the safe, he wouldn’t have got any money.  The safe was empty as the hotel was closed at the time because of the coronavirus pandemic and all cash had been removed from its premises. 

Robinson started burgling when he was in his teens, the court heard.

He had 84 previous convictions, most of them for dishonesty including “numerous” convictions for burglary committed between 1990 and 2017, said Mr Howard.

York Press:

Robinson was on prison licence at the time, having been released partway through a sentence of three years and four months for burglary and attempted burglary.

York Crown Court heard in November 2017 how Robinson and an accomplice had tried to get into student flats in Lawrence Street.

When they didn’t succeed, they burgled a shared house next to the accommodation and stole two bicycles.

Defence solicitor advocate Neal Kutte told the court that the hotel burglary had not been planned in advance.

Robinson had not gone out looking for premises to burgle that night.

He had spent the evening at a friend’s home in the city centre.

He was walking along Bootham heading for Scarborough Bridge and his shared accommodation in Acomb, when he spotted a way into the hotel and got inside, the court heard.

“He accepts he was tempted under the influence of alcohol,” said the defence solicitor.

He had used tools he found in the hotel to attack the safe, said Mr Kutte.

Mr Howard said after Mr Kaye went downstairs and tried to stop the burglar, he found tools on the floor.

The hotel had to make £300 worth of repairs to its rear office and reception.

The hotel burglary was committed in the early hours of November 14.

At the time, England was subject to the second national lockdown, when everyone had been told to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid.