Burglar spared jail after causing £2k damage to St Albans’ Waffle House restaurant

Waffle House

Waffle House - Credit: Archant

A drug-addicted burglar who caused £2,000-worth of damage to the Waffle House in St Albans has been spared prison.

Darren McKay, 33, and another man, broke into the St Michael’s Street restaurant between 2am and 3am on Sunday, January 8.

On Thursday, McKay appeared at St Albans crown court for sentence having earlier admitted to burglary.

Prosecutor Daniel Siong said nothing had been stolen from the eatery, but there was a large amount of damage.

McKay’s DNA was found on the safe, and he was also identified on CCTV.

He had previous convictions for burglary.

His defence, Hannah Beer, told the court how in 2013 another St Albans judge had given McKay the chance to go into rehab.

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Before he could take up this opportunity though, McKay was sent to prison in Scotland for three years for other offences.

Ms Beer pleaded with the judge to put McKay in rehab, as he did not want to go the same way as his father, who had died from a drug overdose in prison when McKay was only seven years old.

Judge Andrew Bright QC said McKay had an appalling record, and added: “If you are going to reform it will be now or not at all.

“With help and support you can address your underlying drug problem.”

He passed an 18 month sentence suspended for two years. McKay will go on a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement, with 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement.

He must also pay £300 costs at the rate of £10 a week.

The judge said: “I hope you get your life back on track before it is too late.”