A burglar who broke into a professional musician’s home and stole guitars worth around £10,000 was caught after he and his twin brother tried to sell them at a music shop.
Staff at the Fair Deal Music store had already been asked to look out for the guitars - and tipped off the police when twins Anthony and David Houston turned up with three of them.
Following their arrest, Anthony Houston admitted five charges of fraud by selling stolen goods, but denied carrying out the two burglaries in which the property was taken.
But Anthony (44) of Skiddaw, Brownsover, Rugby, changed his pleas to guilty on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court and was jailed for 27 months.
David Houston, of Manor Estate, Wolston, near Rugby, also pleaded guilty on the day of trial to two charges of fraud in relation to the guitars, which he had originally denied.
He was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a drug rehabilitation programme.
Prosecutor John Brotherton said that in June 2017 a couple’s home in Hillmorton Road was broken into by Anthony who carried out an untidy search and stole jewellery, a Playstation and games.
Fortunately the jewellery, some of which had sentimental value, was later recovered from a Cash Converters shop where it had been sold.
Less than two weeks later Anthony broke into a woman’s home, also in Hillmorton Road, and stole jewellery, two watches, a laptop and four guitars.
The guitars, including a Gibson, belonged to her son, a professional musician, and were worth around £10,000.
Three days later the manager of the Fair Deal Music shops in Birmingham was leaving work at the branch in Smallbrook Queensway when he was approached by the Houston twins.
David asked if he would be interested in buying four guitars, and shown him photographs of them, which made him suspicious because he realised they would be worth £8-10,000.
He told them to take them to their other shop in Concorde House in the city centre the next day, and was then alerted by a colleague who was passing that the owner had been in touch asking them to look out for the instruments.
So when the twins turned up the next day, having already sold the Gibson at a Cash Converters store, the manager locked the remaining three guitars in his office and the police were called.
The brothers had left before officers arrived, but when Anthony was later arrested at his home, the police found receipts showing he had sold other items from the burglary.
Mr Brotherton added that David Houston had an extensive record for dishonesty, but Antony’s record was not as bad.
Sarah Allen, defending, said: “These matters are now of some age, and for both of them it has effectively put them on probation. They have not offended since, and it has given them the opportunity to show they can change."
She said they had been out of trouble since 2008, but what had led Anthony back into offending was going back onto heroin while living in a homeless hostel with other addicts.
But since then he and David, ‘who suffered from the same affliction,’ had taken steps to combat their addiction and hope to move to Stornoway to be near their parents who are in poor health.
Sentencing the twins, Judge Anthony Potter observed that during his search of the second house, Anthony had thrown around treasured letters from a deceased relative.
And of the property he stole, the judge said: “Mercifully the items were recovered, but that was luck rather than being down to you.”
Having jailed Anthony, Judge Potter told David Houston: “It seems perhaps you are ready to change, and that I can give you a chance.”