A ‘sofa-surfing’ man who helped burgle a nursery because he was short of cash has been jailed.
Dylan Brown was caught red-handed by police inside the Safehands Nursery on Haywood Road in Accrington armed with a screwdriver and wearing a balaclava and dark clothing.
The 21-year-old had acted as ‘lookout’ with another man during the early hours raid on June 19 this year which caused £2,700 worth of damage.
Brown, of Belfield Road, Accrington, pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for seven months.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, told the court how police stumbled across the burglary while en-route to another incident and saw the alarm activated and Brown and another unknown man inside.
The court heard how Brown made his way onto the roof before being apprehended running off down a rear alleyway.
When arrested this first thing he asked police was ‘have you got the other one?’
Mr Parker said the other offender was not apprehended and the men had gained access to the nursery by smashing the glass on a fire exit door.
Internal doors and a filing cabinet were also damaged however no items were stolen.
The court heard how when interviewed by police, Brown tried to claim that he had been walking his dog and was approached by someone he knew and asked to help as lookout in exchange for ‘a few hundred quid’.
Nicholas Powell, a probation service officer who interviewed Brown, told the court how the trained apprentice joiner had suffered a relationship breakdown with his parents and was ‘sofa-surfing’ prior to the offence.
He told the court that Brown was ‘too proud to sign on’ for jobseekers allowance, was struggling for work and money and making the ‘slow movement towards criminality’.
Mr Powell said: “This offence was motivated purely for money. Since that time he has now got employment. It’s a local company who have a long-term contract at Gatwick Airport.
Emma Gilsenan, defending, urged the judge to suspend Brown’s sentence because of his young age, employment and that the offence was ‘out of character’.
She told the court: “He’s not a prolific or career criminal. He accepts full responsibility for his actions.
“His life is much more stable than it was.”
'I would be failing in my public duty if I didn’t send you to prison immediately'
Judge Mark Brown said he would be ‘failing in his public duty’ if he didn’t send Dylan Brown directly to prison.
The court heard how Brown was subject to two community orders and unpaid work at the time of the burglary following previous offences in 2015 for handling stolen goods, attempted theft and going equipped for theft.
Sentencing, he told the court: “In my judgement this was a planned and pre-meditated offence.
“You went to the scene equipped, had a crow bar, a screwdriver, were wearing balaclavas and dark clothing. While I accept that your role was that of lookout, nonetheless in the context of a joint enterprise I’m satisfied your were playing an important and full part.
“I would be failing in my public duty if I didn’t send you to prison immediately. This was a serious burglary and at the time you were on two separate community orders.
“Mr Powell has told me it was very much hoped at that stage that the court appearance and community order would have a significant impact upon you and be a turning point in your life.
"The appearances at court ought to have been a clear reminder to you that there is no future in crime.”