A MAN who burgled a popular pub in Chester city centre and stole more than £1,700 in cash will serve 27 months behind bars.

Stephen Prior, aged 40, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to burglary at Chester Crown Court and was sentenced on Wednesday.

The court heard how on Monday, January 7, Prior was caught on CCTV entering the bar of The Bluebell on Northgate Street by jumping over the courtyard wall and going through a door.

He saw a leather bag containing £1,712 in cash, two notebooks, various keys and keyrings as well as cigarettes, on a bar stool. Prior grabbed the bag and left the pub by jumping over the courtyard wall. The leather bag is also worth up to £600.

The owner of the pub had been alone while he spent the afternoon cashing up before moving to the kitchen area to do maintenance work.

When he went back into the bar area he noticed the takings were no longer on the bar stool and immediately checked the CCTV footage before calling police.

Detectives in Chester were able to identify Prior from the CCTV footage and he was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

After committing his offence Prior bought clothes from a sports shop and disposed his other trainers in a bin on Bell Tower Walk.

Detective Constable Heather Rowlands, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Prior is a prolific offender who took it upon himself to steal the well-known pub owner’s livelihood.

“The victims work hard to earn a living and Prior showed a complete lack of respect for this.

“Due to CCTV footage, detectives were able to identify Prior and bring a successful conviction against him.”