Burglar snatched laptop and child’s gift while victim was in garden
A burglar sneaked into a house and stole a laptop and child’s present when the victim’s back was turned, a court has heard.
George Yates grabbed the items and fled while the owner was in the garden, hiding the booty under a nearby bin until he could recover it.
By chance he was arrested later the same day in connection with an unrelated matter and admitted the break-in – and asked for a string of thefts of bank cards from parked cars he had committed that same day to be taken into account.
Read more:Burglar who had only been out of prison for two days when he raided houses told police ‘If you do the crime, you do the time’
Swansea Crown Court heard the burglary happened in the early evening of June 26 this year in the Uplands area of Swansea.
James Hartson, prosecuting, said around 6.30pm a woman returned to her home in Eaton Crescent after work, and placed her laptop bag and a gift for her son which a neighbour had just given her in the porch of the property. Leaving the front door open, she then popped into the back garden.
The court heard that when he returned around 10 minutes later the laptop and gift were gone.
Mr Hartson said the door and porch were not visible from the road, and the burglar must have walked up the driveway to the house in order to see the items. The children of the family were upstairs at the time of the incursion into their home.
The court heard the husband of the burgled couple got into his car and drove around the area in a bid to find the intruder, and he quickly came across a neighbour remonstrating with a man – later identified as the defendant – who had been trying car door handles. Yates ran off but was chased and caught, and when challenged about his possible involvement in the burglary showed his rucksack was empty before making off again.
Mr Hartson said CCTV later recovered from a house near the burgled property showed 27-year-old Yates hiding the laptop bag and gift under a bin.
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Yates was arrested later that evening on unrelated matters. In his subsequent interview he made full admissions to the burglary, saying his drug addiction and mental health issues meant he needed a “quick fix”.
Yates, of no fixed abode, had previously pleaded guilty to burglary when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He also asked four thefts of bank cards from cars – three committed on the same day as the burglary – and the subsequent fraudulent use of those cards to buy more goods worth more than £300 from shops, to be taken into account. The court heard the defendant has 14 previous convictions for 27 offences including theft and drug matters, and the burglary of a garden shed.
Dan Griffiths, for Yates, said his client’s drug addiction had spiralled out of control, a situation exacerbated by his homelessness. He said the defendant had enough of an insight into his problems to understand that custody was probably the best place for him at the present time.
Judge Catherine Richards said it was plain Yates was stuck in a cycle of heroin addiction, an addiction that was ruining his life. She told him the court hoped he would take advantage of the help that was on offer to tackle his problem with controlled substances.
Giving the defendant a one-third discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison. Yates will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
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