A teenager stole air rifles and jewellery from a neighbour’s flat while she was away visiting her family.
Lewis Jones, 18, was living at an accommodation block on Avenue Parade in Accrington and broke into the victim’s flat in the same building while she was away in London.
Burnley Crown Court heard how the victim was later told by a college friend after Jones was heard ‘bragging’ about it.
Jones, now of Rimmington Avenue, Accrington, pleaded guilty to burglary and was given an 18-month community order with a supervision requirement. Two other co-defendants were given non-custodial sentences by the youth court, the court heard.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how, at the time of the incident, the victim wasn’t living in her flat but was staying at another friend’s flat in the same building.
Mr Parker said Jones, who the defendant knew, was living in a flat upstairs and was aware that she wouldn’t be there for several days as she told him she was visiting family in London. The court heard how the victim left her flat door locked on October 19 last year but with two windows ‘slightly ajar’.
Mr Parker said: “She came home on Tuesday (October 21) but didn’t go to the flat as she was staying at a friend’s flat.
“The following day when she was at college in the library she was approached by someone she knew who said while she had been away this defendant and others had gone into her flat and taken stuff out.
“They were aware of that because Lewis had been bragging about what had gone on.”
The court heard how she later found various items missing including two air rifles, electrical items and jewellery and confronted Jones about it.
Mr Parker said Jones told her he wasn’t responsible but ‘she believed at the time he was lying because of the expression on his face and he had turned bright red’.
When she threatened to call the police, the defendant’s mother visited her flat with a co-defendant and said ‘they have come to own up’ and return the items and they are ‘sorry that it’s happened and should be ashamed of themselves’.
Jones told police he was ‘acting under duress’ and had been ‘threatened with a knife’, a claim he later withdrew.
Recorder Ian Harris said Jones ‘was and still is a highly vulnerable individual’ and ‘needs assistance’.