A persistent burglar was jailed after he slipped back into his old ways when he stole a Dunchurch pensioner’s handbag from her home and used her bank card.
Anthony Nicholson found the front door of the home in Vicarage Lane was unlocked while offering window cleaning services and stole a handbag before spending £72.39 in two supermarkets.
The 58-year-old man, of no fixed address, was jailed for two years and eight months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of burglary and fraud on Friday (June 16).
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told Nicholson: “I have got to tell you that burglary of someone’s home is a very serious offence, because it goes well beyond the money you take – it’s the peace of mind you take from people, particularly people who live alone.”
Prosecutor Madhu Rai said in May a 72-year-old woman left her door unlocked after going out to buy a newspaper.
After she enjoyed a cup of tea and sat in the lounge reading her paper, she later returned to the kitchen and found her handbag, containing £180 in cash, gift cards and her bank card, was gone from a hook by the door.
Meanwhile Nicholson had used her bank card twice at Sainsburys and once at a Co-op store to buy items worth a total of £72.39, said Miss Rai.
When he was arrested after voluntarily attending Rugby police station 10 days later, Nicholson admitted being responsible.
He said he had cold-called at the house to ask if there was any window cleaning work, and ‘the door came open.’
Nicholson added he was desperate for money, so had gone inside and taken the handbag before going straight to the stores to use the card.
Miss Rai added Nicholson had an extensive criminal record going back to 1971, with 44 convictions for more than 120 offences including 38 burglaries.
Andrew Molloy, defending, said: “The only real mitigation is his guilty plea. The fraud takes place immediately after the burglary, and is part and parcel of the offence.
“He had stayed out of trouble for four years, which is a very long time for someone like him.
“He was very proud of that. He got a job as a forklift truck driver, and he had his own accommodation and was able to purchase a car.
“But as a result of losing that job, through no fault of his own, he lost his accommodation and lost his car, and he was trying to build up work as a window cleaner.”
Judge Griffith-Jones observed: “That’s not a good job for him, given his record.”
Mr Molloy added: “It was just desperation which drove him to offend again. He’s 58, and he doesn’t want to spend what time he has left in and out of prison.”
Jailing Nicholson, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “You have reached a point in your life where, when you commit an offence of burglary, it is all the more serious because of your record.”
Nicholson interjected from the dock: “I tried very hard not to go back to those ways, I really did.”