An ‘unlikely burglar’ who helped steal vehicles worth £10,000 from a house has been jailed.
Benjamin Cross, of Hermitage Street, Rishton, acted as the ‘driver’ for the raid on a house in Colne where an £8,500 Vauxhall Insignia, a £1,500 Yamaha Scooter and a purse were stolen, a court heard.
The residents were woken at 2.15am to find their property had been stolen and, when they alerted police, the stolen convoy was tracked on M65 motorway cameras to Accrington.
Police were waiting at the junction of Dill Hall Lane and Whalley Road and arrested Cross at 3.20am where he had a number of stolen items from the burglary on the front seat.
During a later search in custody officers also found a wallet containing a driving licence for another man whose house was also burgled in Colne.
Cross, 23, pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to two counts of burglary and breaching a suspended prison sentence order. He was jailed for two years and nine months.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how the burglaries happened on Varley Street and York Street in Colne in August this year.
The court heard how one of the residents was alerted after hearing the sound of a ‘large engine setting off’ and came downstairs to find the front door prised open and the frame split.
Mr Parker said the second burglary victim had gone to sleep on the settee and was woken by his partner at 6.30am to find his kitchen door open and wallet missing.
The prosecutor said they were ‘planned’ burglaries involving ‘multiple offenders in a convoy’.
He told the court how at least three people must have been involved, including Cross, to drive away the two stolen vehicles and the car they arrived on.
Richard Prew, defending, said Cross had completed the unpaid work and rehabilitation activity requirement days from his previous suspended sentence order and deserved full credit for his early guilty pleas.
He told the court: “He’s a very unlikely burglar. He’s from a good family.
“He was certainly schooled to a good standard. The only excuse he can give is it is the company that he keeps and he needs to stop keeping that company.
“Hopefully this will be the end of his criminal career.”
Judge Beverley Lunt urged Cross to think of the impact of his criminality on both his victims and his family
Sentencing, she told Cross: “You may indeed be keeping bad company but you’re a grown man and made the decision to get involved in these serious offences.
“Breaking into somebody’s home, it’s pre-planned, they are there, it’s going to be years before they ever feel safe in their homes again.
“You were given a chance, no question about it, last year and presumably because you had never been in trouble before.
“You have breached that suspended sentence and you know that has to be activated in whole or in part and there can be no sentence other than prison for this.
“If you commit any further burglaries then there is a minimum term available to the court. You are now a third-strike burglar.
“If I were you I’d concentrate on thinking about what you’re putting your family through. If you don’t care about yourself you might want to care about them.”
The court heard how he previously attended Blackburn College and UCLAN and worked in Todmorden.