A ‘mean-spirited’ burglar who ransacked his friend’s house when he realised he was abroad on holiday has avoided jail.
Dylan Brown, from Accrington, sent victim Jonny Hacker a text asking what he was up to and received a picture of him by a swimming pool in Spain, a court heard.
The next day the 22-year-old broke into Mr Hacker’s home on Edge End in Great Harwood and stole around £20,000 worth of items including the keys to his Audi A3 car.
Brown then went round to the victim’s brother Jason Hacker’s home in Great Harwood where the car was parked outside and stole it.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Jason Hacker alerted police and a helicopter was scrambled to try and find the car.
The court heard how Brown, of Marlborough Road, was identified by DNA on a grey hooded top and a pair of gloves and a fingerprint on some packaging inside the house.
Brown, who was jailed for seven months last year for raiding a nursery in Accrington, pleaded guilty to burglary and was given 12 months’ jail suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Jon Close, prosecuting, said the victim and his girlfriend had to take an early flight back from their holiday and were left ‘extremely upset’ and ‘feeling unsafe’ after returning home.
The court heard how £1,500 worth of damage was caused to the £10,000 car along with a further £1,060 in damage to the house.
Marianne Alton, defending, said the ground worker pleaded guilty on the basis that he only stole the car and a television and didn’t take other items including jewellery, laptops, cameras and other personal items. However this was rejected by both the prosecution and the judge.
She told the court that he is ‘very ashamed, contrite and scared young man’ and has shown ‘genuine and sincere remorse’.
Miss Alton said: “This was very poor judgement and a decision by a young man who was 21 at the time and going through a number of difficulties in his life.”
Recorder Timothy Ryan said it was a ‘shabby, miserable, mean-spirited and unpleasant offence’.
'He’s definitely not a friend any more' - Victim
Victim Jonny Hacker has spoken of his shock and anger after realising his friend had committed the burglary.
The 24-year-old was on holiday in Spain with his girlfriend visiting his granddad when he received a call from his brother Jason Hacker to say his house had been burgled and his Audi S3 car had been stolen.
Jonny said he had a ‘gut instinct’ it was Dylan Brown after he messaged him the day before asking where he was and then didn’t respond to further calls and texts.
Speaking after the court hearing, Jonny told the Observer: “All morning he wasn’t answering his phone and then when the car was dumped he answered and his excuse was he had been to motocross and didn’t have his phone.
“He tried to pull the wool over my eyes and was saying ‘I can’t believe you think it was me’.
“I have known him for years.
“We used to hang around quite a lot but over the past few years when he started getting into trouble I stayed away.
“It was the last thing I expected. Some people trick you.
“He pretended to be a friend and must have had it planned in his mind for however long.
“He’s definitely not a friend any more.”
Jonny, who works in construction, said the burglary had an impact on the relationship with his girlfriend, who he has since separated from, and he no longer lives in the house.
He also criticised the court sentence and said Brown should have been jailed.
He said: “I don’t think the court sentence is enough. Not at all.
“I lost my car for four or five months.
“I’ve lost my girlfriend and my house and all he’s got is a suspended sentence. It’s unreal.”