Drunk bloke caused £20,000 worth of damage in doomed Selfridges axe raid

A drunk man who took an axe to a Selfridges store’s Louis Vuitton display in a doomed bid to get money for alcohol has been sentenced to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Mark Mills caused more than £20,000 worth of damage to a plate-glass window at Selfridges on New Cathedral Street, Manchester in a poorly-planned attempted robbery that was “almost bound to fail”.

At the time Mills was bingeing on up to nine litres of cider a day. A judge has now spared him a prison term after being told that he has vowed to tackle his alcoholism.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Mills and another unknown man were seen attempting to smash a window at the store at about 3.30am on March 13. They were trying to force their way into the Louis Vuitton display which looks onto New Cathedral Street.

Police arrived soon after and witnessed Mills wielding the axe, reports the Manchester Evening News. They also saw him discard an item which was found to be a large kitchen knife, prosecutor Simon Barrett said.

The pair had managed to create a hole in the window, and the knife had been used to make it larger so they could reach through it. During the break in two pairs of trainers worth £875 each were damaged and were no longer suitable to be sold.

The damage to the window was valued at more than £20,000.

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After being arrested, Mills told police that he'd found the axe 'at the back of a canal'.

Defending, Thomas McKail said Mills had suffered from alcoholism since his 20s, after having his first drink aged 13.

He has previously turned to the bottle at times of low mood and emotional problems. After periods of abstinence he started drinking again after the recent passing of his grandmother, Mr McKail said.

The barrister appealed for Mills to be spared from spending more time in jail, after being remanded in custody since the incident. Mills has previously been able to tackle his drink problem and is motivated to try again, he said.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Smith said: "The loss to Selfridges, even for a store of that size and profitability, was significant." But he said the scheme was 'almost bound to fail'.

After saying he was satisfied that Mills is motivated to change, the judge sentenced him to 14 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to carry out a six month alcohol treatment program, 175 hours of unpaid work and 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Mills, of Kirkwood Drive, Collyhurst, pleaded guilty to burglary and two counts of possessing bladed articles.

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