A DRUNK burglar who was caught stealing champagne from a Lake District hotel told the staff who caught him he was an 'undercover millionaire.'

The bungled raid on the Old England Hotel & Spa at Bowness-on-Windermere was part of a spate of drink-fuelled offending during which 58-year-old Jeffrey Hayton repeatedly breached a criminal behaviour order, started a fire on a street and urinated in a police cell.

At Carlisle Crown Court, the defendant, of Copperfield Lane, Kendal, was sentenced for the five offences - burglary, arson, two breaches of his criminal behaviour order and criminal damage.

He admitted everything. Prosecutor Tim Evans outlined the facts.

Describing the burglary, he said the crime came to light on July 30 last year when two of the hotel’s night porters heard suspicious noises coming from the bar, which at the time was closed.

“They went to investigate,” said Mr Evans.

“They saw the defendant, drunk and dishevelled, walking out of the bar area with a bottle of rosé wine tucked under one arm and a bottle of Champagne under the other.”

The defendant was heard to mutter the words 'water, water' before he told the porters he was an 'undercover boss' sent to check on their behaviour.

Hayton even pretended to make a phone call about this on his mobile.

“The porters told him he was going nowhere,” said Mr Evans. It was at this point that Hayton began taking photos of the porters, he said.

Mr Evans said: “He claimed to be a millionaire and threw a £20 note at them.” He also shouted at the men, attempting to get a reaction of some sort, said Mr Evans. He finally claimed that his partner was staying at the hotel.News and Star:

The second set of offences happened on November 13 last year.

Hayton was seen buying a drink at the Masons Arms in Kendal and then taking it into the street – behaviour that was in breach of his criminal behaviour order.

On October 14, shortly before 2am, witnesses saw the defendant setting fire to a sombrero hat on scaffolding which had been erected for a live music event in Finkle Street in Kendal.

At one point, a witness saw Hayton pour a liquid on the flames, causing them to flare, the court heard.

The final set of offences came on December 15 when Hayton went into Kendal’s Duke of Cumberland pub, prompting the manager there to call the police as the defendant was barred under his criminal behaviour order.

After being asked to leave he began shouting aggressively at a customer who was trying to help, a judge was told.

He also attacked that customer but the victim made no formal complaint, said prosecutors.

At the police station, Hayton – still drunk – twice urinated against his cell door, flooding both the cell and the hallway outside, said Mr Evans.

The barrister said that the defendant is such a notorious nuisance in Kendal that he is known locally as 'Mad Jeff'. The defendant’s criminal record includes more than 100 previous offences, many of them drink related.

They included previous arson offences.

Claire Larton, defending, said the root cause of the defendant's offending was his addiction to alcohol which in turn was triggered by long-standing mental health issues.

The barrister said: "Having spent his early 20s in stable employment and a marriage, and without any involvement in the court system, after the breakdown of his marriage and loss of his employment, there was a significant decline in his mental health and alcohol addiction.”

For 35 years, said the barrister, Hayton’s life was blighted by that addiction.

The defendant had said: “Alcohol is my problem: if I don’t drink, I don’t get into trouble. I definitely want help; I want to do something about it.”

Judge Nicholas Barker told Hayton: “You are a well-known nuisance, particularly to those whose business is to supply alcohol.”

The real concern, said the judge, was that the defendant had previously used fire to cause damage, twice receiving sentences that included mental health treatment.

Referring to Hayton’s behaviour in the police cell, the judge said it had been “disgusting” and “intolerable.” He jailed the defendant for a total of 12 months.

As the judge announced the sentence, Hayton interrupted him, saying: "Thank you. I've heard enough. Just lock me up."