A MASKED raider who broke into and ransacked a Colne pensioner’s home was caught after leaving his home-made disguise, a court heard.
Anthony Fallon had gone into the house belonging to William French from the empty property next door, going into his loft through two walls and the roof space, with an accomplice. Fallon, a drug addict for 28 years, had been desperate for heroin when he helped himself to treasured stamp and coin collections the 73-year-old victim had built up over years and had been keeping to give to his grandchildren. The defendant, who also stole tobacco, a camera and medication, had known the victim’s age and that he would be out.
Burnley Crown Court was told Fallon left a balaclava-style mask down the side of a wardrobe, the victim handed it to the police and the defendant’s saliva was found on it.
Fallon (50), of Cleveland Street, Colne, admitted burglary and was locked up for two years. He had been committed for sentence by magistrates.
Mrs Emma Kehoe (prosecuting) said the 73-year-old went out to see friends at 7 p.m. and, when he returned at 10-30 p.m., found his property had been broken into and was a mess.
He found the hatch to the loft was missing and plaster and dust on the stairs. A large quantity of tobacco, which he had bought on a holiday in Spain, had gone, along with four stamp collections and a coin collection. Mrs Kehoe said: ”It was his intention to pass the collections to his grandchildren and he was particularly upset they had gone.”
The victim had told police he had been traumatised by the attack on his home and had been scared to sleep upstairs. He had had his locks changed and the hatch bolted up, but was still frightened. The hearing was told the defendant had a record for drugs supply and dishonesty.
Mr Richard Taylor (for Fallon) said he expressed remorse. His record was commensurate with a drug addict, his life had been ruined by heroin and he had stolen to fund his habit.
The defendant was not normally a house burglar and the offence was out of character. Fallon was already on a methadone reducing programme while on remand and conceded custody was “inevitable”.
Sentencing, Recorder Nick Clarke told Fallon: ”You stole items of great sentimental value. The victim was obviously devastated by the loss of those items.
“It is very sad to see you have wasted your life taking drugs, committing crime and serving prison sentences and generally doing yourself no good whatsoever.
“It is clear this was a pre-planned targeting of the home of an elderly man. You covered your face as you entered.”