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Stephen Baillie jailed for stealing from Wheatsheaf in Whitstable and the Aviator in Queenborough

A thief was told he would receive 50% of the profits of his crime before he snuck into pubs and stole cash and sentimental medals.

Stephen Baillie, who is said to come from a traveller family in Canterbury, targeted a number of different pubs across the county, swiping money during licensed hours while staff worked downstairs.

The 26-year-old’s barrister said he became involved with the wrong crowd and was talked into the crimes because it would be “quick and easy money” and he would receive half of anything he took.

Burglar Stephen Baillie. Picture: Kent Police
Burglar Stephen Baillie. Picture: Kent Police

Prosecutor Edward Connell told Maidstone Crown Court: “On October 3 2016 the defendant entered the Aviator pub in Queenborough and took £1,400 in cash and a number of medals.

“The landlord went upstairs and realised the safe was open – the keys had been hanging up in the office. Later, CCTV showed the defendant leaving the premises just after 8pm when the pub was open, carrying money containers.

“His vehicle was also seen entering the Isle of Sheppey.”

Fifteen days later, Baillie targeted the Wheatsheaf Hungry Horse pub in Whitstable, stealing £1,435.

The landlord was counting the takings and when he left the room momentarily, he heard a window smash before seeing the defendant jump onto the roof of a smoking hut and run off.

Reading out a victim impact statement from the former landlord of the Aviator Philip Chislet, he said: “He was upset that the medals belonging to his father with sentimental value could not be replaced.

“It left him feeling upset about the burglary and uneasy about the security of the pub.”

Baillie stole money from the Wheatsheaf pub in Herne Bay Road, Whitstable
Baillie stole money from the Wheatsheaf pub in Herne Bay Road, Whitstable

Baillie, whose address is listed as Belmont Road in Whitstable, pleaded guilty to all charges.

He has a number of previous convictions, including theft, shoplifting, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.

Defending Baillie, Sara Haroon said: “In late 2016 he started mixing with the wrong types of people and he was persuaded into taking the money and was told it would be quick and easy money.

“He was also told he would be given 50% of the money taken.

“Through me he apologises for his behaviour and he knows that his offences have caused upset to the owners of the properties.

“He has been in custody since March 9 and he knows that is where he will remain.

The Aviator pub in Sheerness. Baillie stole medals and cash from here.
The Aviator pub in Sheerness. Baillie stole medals and cash from here.

“His punishment is lack of freedom but I ask whether the inevitable prison sentence can be as short as possible.”

Judge Charles MacDonald QC said the crimes were “professional and planned” and jailed Baillie for 28 months.

DC Mark Silk, an investigating officer for the case, said: "Baillie’s offending was brazen and clearly pre-planned.

"For both offences he knew where the money was kept was able to get in and out of the premises quickly and without being caught.

"Thankfully we were able to identify Baillie as the offender and we are pleased that we have been able to secure justice for the victims."

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