Landlord cleared of raiding own pub in Shropshire

A pub landlord who was pursued by police for three years for allegedly faking a break-in at his premises today spoke of his relief after all charges were dropped.

John Cattermole
John Cattermole

John Cattermole, 55, said he can now carry on with his life after being accused of faking the burglary four years ago and even appearing on Crimewatch as a wanted man.

He said he does not hold any grudges.

The trial of Mr Cattermole, former landlord of the Monkmoor Hotel in Shrewsbury, was set to take place this week.

He handed himself in last year after three years being sought by police.

But before the hearing got under way yesterday, Nicholas Tatlow, prosecuting, told Shrewsbury Crown Court there would be no trial as the case against Mr Cattermole, now of Kingswood Drive, Charlshalton, Surrey, had collapsed.

The Monkmoor Hotel in Shrewsbury

Recorder Roger Evans entered a verdict of not guilty on all charges and told Mr Cattermole he was free to go.

Speaking to the Star after the hearing he said: "I'm glad the police and Crown Prosecution Service have come to their senses.

"My life has been on hold now for nearly four years."

On April 25, 2010, Mr Cattermole called police to report a burglary at the Monkmoor Hotel, Monkmoor Road, which he ran at the time.

He told them that £2,800 in cash had been stolen along with £1,500 worth of spirits.

Police then arrested Mr Cattermole, 56, on suspicion of being behind the burglary himself.

He was charged with the theft and also with perverting the course of justice.

But when he failed to show at Shrewsbury Police Station on bail a month later it sparked a three-year search that culminated with a call put out on BBC's Crimewatch in February 2013.

Mr Cattermole appeared on the show's "Wanted" board, with investigating officer Constable Jason Tierney travelling to the BBC television studios in Cardiff to assist with any calls from the public.

Leads suggesting he may be in the Lancashire area proved to be a red herring when Mr Cattermole, who was living in Surrey, contacted police in Shrewsbury soon after the show aired, still denying the charges.

Appearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court on what was supposed to be the first day of his trial yesterday, Mr Cattermole was excused from having to stand inside the glass-enclosed dock as, defence solicitor Adam Wolstenholme said, he suffered from claustrophobia.

Nicholas Tatlow, prosecuting then told Recorder Evans: "There will be no trial today.

"It has become clear to me that there is no reasonable prospect of securing the defendant's conviction.

"I regret that this decision is being made now in a case that has been going on for some while."

Recorder Evans agreed Mr Cattermole's travel costs should be paid by the Crown. Mr Cattermole said: "I'm relieved, it's been a lot of pressure. I can now start working again.

"It shouldn't have come to this, but it has and now it's over.

"I'm looking straight ahead. I don't hold any umbrage with anybody, what's happened has happened."

He said his reputation had been cast into doubt during his ordeal and, unable to work, the cost of travelling back and forth to Shrewsbury from the South East for court appearances since last spring had mounted up.

He said he was now planning to get a job working on the ferries in Dover, but did not rule out returning to the pub business.

"I might do, given an opportunity," he said.

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