Mobile phone thief jailed

A PROLIFIC criminal who pinched a man’s mobile phone as he was asleep on the couch, was jailed for 13 months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how drug addict David Connelly had sneaked into the victim’s home in Berkeley Street, Nelson, in the early hours. The victim, who knew Connelly by his nickname, awoke to a loud bang at 6 a.m. and realised someone had been in his living room. He saw a figure leaving his back yard and going down the back alley to nearby Selby Street.

Police were called, officers went to Selby Street and spoke to a female who indicated the defendant had passed through the property. They searched the streets and found Connelly and his partner. The defendant had the phone on him. Connelly (25), of West Street, Nelson, admitted burglary on April 24th.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said when Connelly was arrested and interviewed, he claimed he had been in the house with the permission of the victim and had borrowed the mobile phone. The defendant had 55 previous convictions, which included robbery.

Mr Robert Elias, for Connelly, said: “This was a classic, drug-fuelled burglary, late at night, by somebody who wanted something valuable that he could sell to get heroin.”

The defendant had been on remand four months, was on methadone, was drug-free other than that, but would need encouragement and help to get rid of his addiction on his release.

Mr Elias said Connelly really wanted to turn the corner and move away from offending. The barrister said: “There does come a time when one needs to grow up and sort oneself out and I think this defendant would say that time has now come.”

Judge Jonathan Gibson told Connelly the offence was opportunistic, but a prison term could not be avoided.