A SERIAL house raider who attacked 10 homes in the Pendle area in a three-month spree has been locked up for four years four months.
Drug addict Robert Wright stole sentimental jewellery and left homes ransacked in his quest for cash for hard drugs. He upturned mattresses, emptied drawers and even wore one victim’s slippers in the campaign of thieving between last August and October.
The defendant had been arrested and bailed by the police, but carried on breaking into properties, usually in the morning or afternoon, Burnley Crown Court heard.
The hearing was told Wright, who had a record for burgling and has already been to prison, owned up to six offences police could not have pinned on him when he was questioned after his second arrest. A top detective wrote the court a letter telling the judge there had been no other evidence apart from the defendant’s admissions and the crimes would not have been detected.
Wright (48), of Stafford Street, Nelson, had admitted four charges of house burglary or attempted burglary and handling stolen goods and asked for six more burglaries to be considered.
Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said Wright forced a window at a property in Chatburn Park Drive, Brierfield, and took jewellery to the tune of £800 which had belonged to the victim’s mother and grandmother. A gold locket with pictures of her parents in was among the stolen items, some of which were later recovered. The victim was left anxious for some time afterwards.
The defendant handled the proceeds of a break-in in the same road and also invaded a house in Castle Street, Nelson, while the owners were away on holiday. Wright, who had previously fitted a kitchen at the property, again helped himself to sentimental jewellery as well as a television. One of the householders was so upset by what happened she was prescribed tranquillisers.
Mr Macro said police went to Wright’s home last September and found stolen watches, mobile phones, electrical items and clothing. The defendant was arrested, lied to the police and was bailed.
The prosecutor said Wright then struck again twice on the same day. In Walton Lane, Nelson, he put a stone through a window, but didn’t manage to get into the house beyond the porch. Within three hours, he tried to gain access to a house on Hallam Road, also in Nelson, where a couple were sitting in their back living room and heard a thud. They opened the door and saw the defendant nearby with a dog. The victims were then shocked to find an attempt had been made to force their front door with a jemmy. Police attended, found Wright nearby and arrested him.
Mr Macro handed the judge a letter from Detective Chief Inspector Paul Withers, which stated there had been no evidence against the defendant on the burglaries to be considered, apart from his admissions.
Mr Philip Holden, for Wright, said he had offended after getting into financial difficulties and lapsing back into taking hard drugs. Clearly, he would receive a custodial sentence.
All the offences appeared to have been committed during the day and only one house had been occupied.
Mr Holden said Wright had been tackling his drug use whilst on remand. The barrister added: “His record is not the record of an habitual house burglar.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told the defendant it was obviously distressing for victims to return home and find their properties had been ransacked. She continued: “The fear that you have left these people in will not leave them for years.”