Rugby man pleads guilty to two burglaries in town

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A Rugby man who broke into two houses within the space of a few minutes, taking jewellery of great sentimental value from one of them, has been remanded in custody.

Steven Coombs, 33, of Wood Street, Rugby, appeared at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to the two burglaries.

Prosecutor Nazneen Sultan said that at just 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 returned at 7.15 to discover that intruders had got in through an insecure back door and taken a laptop computer in the 25 minutes she had been out.

One 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.

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 another man ‘riding pillion.’

They were arrested, and the police recovered items which had been stolen from both burgled houses.

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

Among them were items of 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 Sultan pointed out that at the time Coombs was subject to a community order for an offence of affray after he had brandished a meat cleaver when the police turned up at his home following an allegation that he had beaten his partner.

Blondelle Thompson, defending, said Coombs had been on bail until being remanded in custody for an alleged breach of a restraining order banning him from contacting his ex-partner.

“He is a man who has difficulty with a drug habit, and he describes himself as being in a mess at the time. He and his partner of some time had separated.

“His dealer said he owed him a debt and that he had to pay it off by committing a couple of burglaries,” added Miss Thompson.

Recorder Christopher Hotten QC asked for enquiries to be made into the previous convictions of the other man involved, Stephen Hill – and it was then discovered that his case has also been committed to the crown court.

So he adjourned sentence on Coombs until the date Hill is due in court, and remanded him in custody.

Recorder Hotten explained: “Good sentencing practice requires that two men who have pleaded guilty to joint offences should be sentenced together.

“I know he wants to know his fate; but he’s going to receive a custodial sentence, so it will not affect where he spends the next couple of weeks.”