A “tea leaf” had with a partner stolen teabags, cakes and scones from a café where he worked – to stock their new rival business, a court has heard.

Frank Pritchard, 27, of Trinity Avenue, Llandudno, was sentenced to a twelve weeks 9pm-6am curfew and ordered to pay £550 compensation and £170 costs.

Richard Plester, 31, of Dolwyddelan Road, Betws y Coed, a former children’s home worker, got a similar curfew for eight weeks with the same compensation and costs. They admitted burgling Love to Eat café in Llandudno’s Victoria shopping centre between October 28 and November 5 in 2017 and stealing stock.

Defence lawyers told Llandudno magistrates they’d run out of money when setting up their café.

Prosecutor James Neary said Pritchard had been a staff member at Love to Eat for about a year and was starting The Loaf café.

When it was realised that items had gone missing, CCTV footage had been checked at the Victoria centre.

“The defendants between the dates have been recorded repeatedly on CCTV, after the cafe has closed but the Victoria Centre is open, going in and out of the shopping centre, into the café, and leaving with bags,” Mr Neary said.

Coffee, hot chocolate and jacket potatoes were also among the haul. The defendants were quizzed in November 2017 but denied responsibility and claimed to have bought the teabags from ASDA. Police then made further inquiries.

“The police have conducted a thorough investigation,” the prosecutor remarked. The missing cakes and scones were valued at £747, he added.

Defence solicitor Richard Williams, for Plester, said the new venture had seven employees. “As an employer he can perhaps appreciate more fully the wrongs he undertook. He’s genuinely remorseful,” the lawyer added.

Sarah Yates, defending Pritchard, said he had a key to the burgled café and was remorseful. “He’s learned his lesson,” she declared.

A probation officer said it was Pritchard’s “dream” to open his own business and he now ran a café at Llandudno. He’d lost friends because of the offence, the officer added.