A HOUSEHOLDER was shocked to find a barefooted stranger rummaging through his fridge in the early hours, a court was told.
Burnley Crown Court heard how teenager Anthony Dewhurst had broken into Christopher Moore’s Barnoldswick home not because he wanted to steal something, but because he was homeless and wanted some food and to get warm.
Mr Moore, who lived with his elderly father, and had gone downstairs after being awoken by his dog barking, went on to let his intruder out after the defendant became very agitated.
Dewhurst put his liberty at risk for a 20 minute nap on a comfy sofa and a pork pie, but was spared jail after the court was told things were looking up for him. The defendant now had settled accommodation and was working for his brother.
Dewhurst (19), of Manchester Road, Barnoldswick, admitted burglary, last July 17th. He was given an 18 month community order, with 18 months’ supervision and 120 hours unpaid work.
Emma Kehoe, prosecuting, said at 2-40am, the victim heard noises coming from the kitchen, went downstairs and found Dewhurst in front of the fridge, with the door open.
Mr Moore asked the defendant what he was doing and the defendant replied: “I thought somebody had broken into your house and I came in to get them out.”
The victim reported the matter to the police. He had discovered a pork pie and £5 were missing.
Mr Moore noticed Dewhurst had got into the property through a window. The defendant was arrested and questioned. He told police he had been homeless for about three or four months and had gone to the house for shelter.
John Woodward, for Dewhurst, said: “He does understand what he did was terribly wrong.” Dewhurst, who is now working as a labourer, had been sitting on the sofa trying to warm up for 20 minutes before the householder found him.
The barrister continued: “His motivation wasn’t to steal to fund a habit. It was to try and find some shelter and some food, but the householder must have been terrified.”
Sentencing, Judge Anthony Russell, QC, said the incident must have been very disturbing for the householder.
The judge told the defendant: “As things developed, he perhaps realised you weren’t the sort of burglar that some people fear very much.”
The judge added: “Your circumstances do seem to have changed for the better. You have got a job. I think the court can be more lenient than might otherwise be the case for breaking into somebody’s home.”