A prolific burglar who was caught ‘red handed’ stealing radiators and copper piping from an empty house has been jailed.
Mark Rothwell, 25, was found by police in an upstairs bedroom at the terraced property on York Street in Church after after a neighbour complained of hearing banging noises.
Burnley Crown Court heard how floor boards had been ripped up, radiators were ‘crudely removed’ from the wall and stacked against the back door and copper piping had been stolen.
More than £3,000 of damage was caused to the rented property and also had to be temporarily removed from the market while the repairs were carried out.
The court heard how the previous tenants had moved out earlier that week and the new tenants had not yet arrived.
Rothwell, of Grimshaw Street, Church, was found guilty after a trial of burglary and being in breach of a suspended sentence order and was jailed for three years.
He was previously convicted for a house burglary in November 2014 and given a caution for a non-dwelling burglary in January 2011.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how neighbour Christopher Grundy alterted police after hearing banging and when the officer arrived he found Rothwell in an upstairs bedroom.
Mr Parker said: “When asked why he was there the defendant said it was his son’s father’s house.
“The officer said to him that would make him his son’s father at which point he corrected the comment and said he was the father of a friend of his son’s address.
“The Crown say the defendant was caught red handed in the act of burglary.
"Having disturbed a neighbour police responded promptly and he was found upstairs without good reason, without explanation and in possession of tools.”
The court heard how Rothwell was found carrying a pair of plyers and two pairs of mole grips.
Mr Parker told the court: “They are the types of items you might use if you are in the process of removing radiators or copper piping from a property. He is a man known to the police.”
In a statement read out at court, Paul Brown, managing director of Eafield & Maple estate and letting agents, said there was also damage to remaining pipe work, flood damage, the kitchen cooker was missing and the extractor fan had been removed.