A burglar targeted an elderly woman’s home while she was away in hospital, a court has heard.
Clive Humphries, 50, stole a television, cash and jewellery after letting himself into the 80-year-old woman’s Dinsdale Drive home more than three years ago.
But he was caught very soon afterwards with the very same 55-inch television he had stolen when police searched another house on the very same road, Bolton Crown Court heard.
Daniel Calder, prosecuting, said: “Mr Humphries was found upstairs in bed, watching the 55 inch TV that had been stolen.”
Mr Calder told the court that Humphries, of Rogerstead, Deane, had burgled the home between August 7 and 8, 2019 despite it having been securely locked while the elderly occupant was in hospital.
Though caught soon afterwards, he denied having carried out the burglary, claiming an aquantance had done so instead.
But the footprints matching Humphries, who has 64 previous convictions for 178 offences, trainers were found in the house, including those of a left foot.
But the man who Humphries had wrongly identified as the burglar has only one foot and so he changed his plea to guilty.
Mr Calder added that though Humphries’ elderly victim had not been in the house at the time, she was deeply affected by the experience and never returned to Dinsdale Drive.
Instead, she went into a care home and has since died having never returned home.
Joshua Bowker, defending, accepted the seriousness of Humphries’ crime but argued that he had shown himself to be deeply remorseful since then.
He said: “This is a particularly nasty and mean offence for which Mr Humphries is deeply ashamed.”
Mr Bowker told the court that Humphries’ life had been defined by drugs and crime since the age of ten when he was taken into care.
He had been taking class A drugs since that young age and from that point on the majority of his crimes had been committed in order to fund his drug addiction.
But Mr Bowker argued that he had worked since then to address his addictions and the burglary committed in 2019 was his first offence in nearly three years.
His case had taken such a long time coming to court because of his initial claims to be innocent and because of disruption caused to the courts by the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
Recorder Mark Ford KC accepted that Humphries was largely motivated by funding his addiction but reminded the court of the devastating impact his crime had had.
He said: “Should any member of the public wonder what the potential effect of being burgled is they need look no further than this case.”
But he admitted that Humphries lack of offending in the three years before the burglary showed that he still had a chance at rehabilitation.
Recorder Ford sentenced Humphries to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years.
He also ordered him to carry out a 12-month drug rehabilitation requirement programme and to complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.