Burglar caught after escape route blocked by Brighton chippy owner

Posted On 06 Nov 2019 at 11:39 am

A burglar who smashed his way into a Brighton chippy plagued by break-ins was caught when he was locked inside by its determined owner.

Francesco di Biase, 43, was caught on camera breaking into Preston Fish Bar in Beaconsfield Road in the early hours of 7 October 2019.

He got in by smashing a glass panel at the bottom of the front door – but unknown to him, this triggered an alert on owner Ramez Khalil’s phone.

Mr Khalil was able to remotely close the shutters, closing off Di Biase’s escape route before calling the police.

The video shows the burglar rifling through the till and cupboards – and then panicking when he realises he has no way of getting out.

The police then arrive armed with tasers, and he is arrested.

Di Biase, a Italian national of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary at Brighton Magistrates Court on Thursday last week and was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, to pay Mr Khalil £120 compensation plus a victim surcharge of £90 and costs of £85.

Mr Khalil said he was glad the £1400 remotely-controlled shutters had paid off.

He said: “I first received an alert from the camera at 1.30am when I was about to go to sleep. Someone had smashed the door so I went to the shop and checked there was nothing there.

“I thought they were coming back so I called the police who said if you see anything just call 999 and gave me a reference number.

“I stayed in my car there for two hours watching but then went back home and after another hour, at about 4.30am, I had another alarm on my mobile phone.

“I opened the CCTV feed on my phone and could see the guy trying to enter the shop so I closed the shutters.”

This is the third break-in at the chippy in just four months, and Mr Khalil says there have been about five break-ins at other shops in the parade.

In July, a burglar broke in and stole about £400 from the till. The on 8 August, another burglar broke in and stole coins from the till, scattering change on the floor which was spotted by Mr Khalil’s neighbours who called the police.

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