A BURGLAR broke into a coffee shop because he was unable to access benefits, it was claimed.

Stephen Fidler and his pal Mark Kaid launched a smash and grab raid at the Trading Post Coffee Roasters in North Laine, Brighton.

The “opportunist” pair broke through a glass door and snatched money from a till.

Kaid was stealing to fund his crack cocaine habit, while Fidler claimed he needed the cash to survive after leaving prison.

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court, he said he did not have access to a computer to access benefits, so took to stealing instead.

He was jailed for six months, while Kaid was ordered to complete treatment for drug dependency.

Georgina Kent, prosecuting, said the duo broke in at 2am last Thursday.

The Argus:

Police were alerted by an intruder alarm and went to Kensington Gardens to search for the men, who were caught red-handed shortly afterwards.

Fidler, 44, of Grand Parade, Brighton, admitted burglary. He has 58 previous convictions which include 37 burglaries.

Kaid, 39, also of Grand Parade, also admitted burglary, and has 30 previous offences of dishonesty or theft.

Ms Kent revealed the duo had caused the cafe to be closed from 7am to midday while repairs were done, causing Trading Post to lose revenue. It was estimated the loss was worth more than £1,100.

Probation officers revealed Kaid has made progress in the past with drug treatment, but has struggled with getting support for his mental health.

He is on methadone and is unable to complete community service because he is signed off sick. Josie Sonessa, defending, said Kaid has schizoaffective disorder.

The Argus:

Meanwhile John Hunter, defending Fidler, said: “He acted foolishly and cracked the door open and took the money. Since being released from prison he has not been able to claim any benefits.

“To do so he needs to get online, but he doesn’t have access to a computer. He tells me he was simply desperate.

“He took the money rather than jump through the hoops to get his benefits.”

Magistrate Teresa Blaxland said Kaid must complete drugs treatment and imposed a 12-week suspended prison sentence. Meanwhile Fidler was jailed for six months.

Both men were ordered to pay £559.17 in compensation each.