Burglars who stole sentimental jewellery and a laptop from Rugby homes are jailed

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Two men who broke into two houses after watching the owners go out, taking jewellery of sentimental value from one and a vital work laptop from the other, have been jailed.

Steven Coombs and Stephen Hill had pleaded guilty at separate hearings to two charges of burglary.

And appearing together at Warwick Crown Court, Coombs, 33, of Wood Street, Rugby, and Hill, 36, of Featherbed Lane, Rugby, were both jailed for three years.

Prosecutor Amy Jackson said that at shortly after 7pm on July 28, the police received a call reporting two men acting suspiciously in the Ashlawn Road area of Rugby.

They had walked away when a woman disturbed them on her drive, and seven minutes later another woman called the police to report a burglary at her home in nearby Percival Road.

She had only been out for a few minutes, and had returned at 7.15 to discover that intruders had got in through an insecure back door and taken her work laptop computer.

A minute later a man called the police to say he had just seen two men climbing into the back garden of a neighbour’s home in Ashlawn Road and then climbing back out.

He explained that they were the same two men who had knocked his door shortly before and, when he answered, claimed to be looking for someone whose name he did not recognise.

The police, who were already on their way to the area, turned up in time to see Coombs cycling away from the burgled house with Hill ‘riding pillion.’

They were arrested, and the police recovered items which had been stolen from both burgled houses, although the laptop and a memory stick from Percival Road were damaged.

They had important work information on them which could not be accessed because of the damage, and the woman has employed an expert to try to retrieve it, said Miss Jackson.

Among the property they had taken from the house in Ashlawn Road was a jewellery box containing items of both monetary and sentimental value to the woman who lived there.

Among them was jewellery given to her by her mother and grandmother, some of which she had worn for her wedding, and an engraved silver signet ring her mother had given her when she was six.

Miss Jackson added that at the time Hill was subject to a community order and a conditional discharge for offences of criminal damage, while Coombs was subject to a community order for an offence of affray.

Barristers for both men said they had committed the offences because of their drug habits; and Blondelle Thompson, for Coombs, said he had been told to commit a couple of burglaries to pay off a debt to his dealer.

Jailing the two men, Judge Alan Parker told them: “I find it difficult to draw a distinction between the two of you. You were engaged together in a premeditated burgling exercise.

“In the course of your arrest the computer and memory stick taken from Percival Road were damaged.

“The owner has suffered a significant degree of loss because they were essential to her in her employment, and she has had to employ someone to try to retrieve what was valuable information.

“It is no coincidence that the occupiers were absent. I am satisfied that in each case you watched them leave, which will be a disturbing piece of knowledge for each of them.”