THE CO-OWNER of a town centre takeaway says he can relax now the burglar who raided his restaurant is behind bars.

Career burglar Frederick Moulton has been sentenced to 28 weeks imprisonment after breaking into Pepe’s Piri Piri, the Moonrakers pub, a Gorse Hill home and damaging a Skoda.

The 52-year-old, of Spruce Court, Pinehurst, admitted stealing a cash float and drinks from the new Regent Circus chicken shop, entering the Moonies with intent to steal and taking copper piping, drill, charger and cable reels from a home on Tydeman Street in July.

Swindon Advertiser:

Naveed Asim at Pepe's Piri Piri

Earlier this summer, the Adver reported the fears of Pepe’s owners that the newly-opened restaurant may have to close after a succession of burglaries.

The shop had been subject to four burglaries in as many months. In early July, co-owner Naveed Asim arrived at work to find that raiders had smashed a hole in the wall and broken into a safe.

Mr Asim told the Adver: “He came from the basement and made this big hole in the wall. He spent 15 minutes trying to break the safe and then opened the till. He was only interested in finding cash and stayed in the restaurant for nearly an hour.

“He is not wearing a mask or anything, and, after doing it four times, I guess he is not scared anymore.

Swindon Advertiser:

The damage to Pepe's safe

“I think it’s easier for him to get access to the restaurant because he knows the building, so the landlord is trying his best to protect the restaurant.”

Two months on, Mr Asim, 42, seemed visibly more relaxed. Told of the sentence, the restaurant owner said: “Obviously, it’s good news. We can be a little bit more relaxed now.

“Every time when we come in the morning we had fear that maybe it had happened again.

“This happened so many times. We were scared every single morning. The sentence is really good news.”

Having invested £250,000 of his own money into the business, he said things were now settling down and he and business partner Saeed Ahmed were working on growing the company.

Career burglar Frederick Moulton’s criminal record stretches back 40 years.

In 2018, Swindon Crown Court heard that Moulton had breached his three-month curfew – because his grandchildren had unplugged his electronic tag monitoring system so they could power their games consoles.