A teenager who burgled an elderly woman’s house as she slept has been locked up.
Samuel Fielden broke into the 86-year-old victim’s home on Harcourt Road in Accrington with other unknown accomplices after she forgot to lock the back door.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Fielden, 18, helped steal ‘sentimental’ items and other equipment, including a gold necklace, worth £1,460. He was forensically identified by trainer marks and a fingerprint he left behind.
He pleaded guilty to burglary and was sent to a young offenders institute for 16 months.
The court heard how Fielden, of Barnes Street, Accrington, committed the offence on October 3 last year only NINE days after he had been convicted by the magistrates of a separate burglary and theft and was let off with a conditional discharge.
Barbara Webster, prosecuting, told the court how the victim had lived in the house for the last 30 years and was alone at the time of the burglary.
The court heard how she had received a visit from a neighbour at 5.30pm on October 3 after she left had forgotten to lock the back door.
Miss Webster said the victim went to bed about 10.50pm and woke up the next morning at 6am.
She came downstairs to make herself a drink and noticed several items ‘strewn around the living room floor’.
Miss Webster said Fielden and an unknown number of accomplices had stolen a decorative silver spoon, silver vestra lighter case, Pentax digital camera, £280 cash, a Nokia mobile phone, 40-inch Panasonic television worth £400 and a rose gold necklace worth £600.
A victim impact statement told how she now feels ‘vulnerable’ and ‘doesn’t like to return home when it is empty’.
Miss Webster said she has also had to pay to replace the stolen items and install new locks.
Anthony Parkinson, defending, said it was a ‘serious and unpleasant offence taking into account the age of the victim’.
He told the court: “His pre-sentence report is mixed and says he is trying to make some sort of effort, but then moves on to suggest that isn’t the case. Accommodation is clearly a problem.
“He is ‘sofa surfing’ and sleeping at various properties and he readily acknowledges that brings with it exposure to criminal associates and peers.
“His partner is expecting his first child in little under three months and that will be a big wake up call for him. He’s going to have to grow up at some point.”
Judge Beverley Lunt said the victim will be affected for the ‘rest of her life’
Sentencing, she said: “You didn’t target this elderly lady but that’s the risk you take. You don’t know who is in the house when you decide to break into it.
“In this case this is a lady of 86 years of age who will probably never for the rest of her life feel safe in her own home.
“I’m asked today to give you a chance but you had your chance in September when the magistrates gave you a community order.
“You had all the support there if you wanted to utilise it to stay out of trouble. You didn’t and nine days after you received that sentence you committed this burglary with others.”