A man who burgled the homes of two families he knew and stole thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and watches including two wedding rings has been jailed.
A judge at Warwick Crown Court heard that at the time Andrew Beale was already subject to a suspended prison sentence for burgling his father’s and his grandparents’ homes.
Beale, 24, of Wolds Lane, Wolvey, was jailed for two years and four months after pleading guilty to two burglaries and asking for a third to be taken into consideration.
Prosecutor Hugh O’Brien-Quinn said a young woman who was friends with Beale had a key to her mother’s home in Launceston Drive, Nuneaton.
The key went missing after Beale visited her on November 27, and the following day he used to let himself into her mother’s home.
He stole £7,600 worth of property including an eternity ring and an engagement ring worth £1,000 each, a £3,000 wedding ring and a Tag Heuer watch worth around £2,000.
The following day Beale burgled the home of a family he had known for a number of years, having been a friend of their son, and who had even taken him on holiday with them when he was younger.
While he was outside their home in Grasmere Crescent, Nuneaton, he was confronted by a neighbour but said he was looking for his friend.
Beale got into the house where he stole rings, including a wedding ring, other jewellery and a watch worth a total of about £5,000.
When Beale was arrested in December he denied the offences and was granted bail. But he was arrested again for breaching his bail conditions and admitted carrying out the burglaries.
Mr O’Brien-Quinn said that both victims have spoken of having known Beale as a young boy and feeling betrayed by him breaking into their homes and taking property of sentimental value.
Beale also admitted burgling the caravan home of a 78-year-old woman on a caravan park where he was doing maintenance work at the time and stealing jewellery.
And the court heard that at the time of the offences he was subject to a 12-month suspended prison sentence for burgling his father’s home, from where he stole jewellery worth £42,000 belonging to his step-mother, and his grandmother’s home.
Sean Logan, defending, conceded: “This is an unattractive case, certainly one with unattractive features. There is a clear breach of trust. He is ashamed of that.
“The only issue is whether he got in with keys or an insecure door; but the fact is, the houses were targeted.
“He says he has been suffering from depression, mainly because of debts he had run up. He had a cocaine habit which was not unrelated to his debt problem.”
Mr Logan added that Beale had been remanded in custody for the last three weeks, which had been ‘a real eye-opener.’
Jailing Beale, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano said of the first burglary: “It doesn’t matter whether you took the keys from her daughter or simply used the knowledge you had to break in, you stole over £7,000 worth of items.
“The following day you broke into the home of another family who you knew and had been on holiday with and again stole a watch and a quantity of jewellery including a wedding ring.
“The value of the items in this case is very high, well over £12,000 - but it is not the monetary value that matters, it is the value people attach to the objects. A wedding ring may be valued at £3,000 if you buy it in a shop, but to the owner it is priceless.
“These families are horrified by what you have done, given that they know you and have shown kindness towards you.
“Your problem is class A drugs - and until you conquer that, you are not going to be able to stop offending.”