"Idiotic" burglar mocked

A scaffolder who carried out an "idiotic" break-in at a house rented by a group of students has been given a suspended prison sentence.

As he was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court on November 2, a bemused court official told him: "Quite why you wanted two framed photographs of Mount Everest and two colanders, I don't know."

John Stanford had pleaded guilty to burglary at the house in Priory Terrace, Leamington, during which he stole property including kitchen equipment, tools, a CD player and CDs, speakers and two framed pictures.

Stanford, 47, of Tachbrook Road, Leamington, was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay 250 costs.

Vicki Lofrese, prosecuting, said a group of students rented a house in Priory Terrace on a 12-month tenancy, but in the summer they all went back to their own homes.

Student Ian Malleson was the first to return to the house in early September, and when he got up the next morning and went into the kitchen he found that most of the utensils had gone.

Other property had also been stolen from the house, so he called the police.

Three panes of glass had been smashed in a window at the back, and there was blood on the window sill. Another window at the side of the house had also been opened.

The blood was not Stanford's, and the person whose DNA it matched is subject to an on-going investigation.

But Stanford was questioned by the officers, and when his home was searched they recovered items including kitchen equipment and stereos which were subsequently shown to the students who identified their property.

Stanford accepted responsibility, saying he was working as a scaffolder at the address and saw the open window and went in, adding that others were also involved.

Miss Lofrese added that Stanford had previous convictions including one for burglary 14 years ago.

After indicating he was going to pass the suspended sentence recommended in the pre-sentence report, Recorder Keith Raynor was not addressed by Stanford's solicitor.

The Recorder told Stanford: "It was an idiotic enterprise by you. You had got this job as a scaffolder and you fell to temptation.

"Quite why you wanted two framed photographs of Mount Everest and two colanders, I don't know.

"The house was unoccupied at the time, but was the home of students who came back for their new term without many of the things they would need."