Two prolific criminals who stole a defibrillator from a dental practice and caused £11,000 in damage have been jailed.
Nathan James Walker and his father-in-law Wayne Nix raided the practice on Argyle Street in Accrington between December 30 and December 31 last year and were caught in the act by a passing police officer, a court heard.
Prosecutor Anthony Longworth said other officers were called to the area and the alarm alerted the owner who quickly arrived at the scene.
Walker, 27, was detained by officers and Nix, 44, was found nearby with a bag of property stolen from the building.
Preston Crown Court heard the metal railings outside the practice were broken off and used to break through the door.
Items stolen included a £500 defibrillator, an £80 cash float, £200 worth of dental resin, teeth whitening kits worth £350, five toothbrushes worth £250 and two bottles of mouthwash worth £10.
Mr Longworth said the defendants had also caused a ‘considerable amount of damage to the property and fixtures’.
Two high pressure machines worth a total of £10,000 were ‘knocked over’ and broken and an inside blind was damaged costing more than £1,000 to repair.
The court heard how the dental practice owner was left ‘extremely out of pocket and the damage to his equipment would affect his business’.
Mr Longworth said the stolen items totalling £1,770 were all recovered, however they could not be re-sold to members of the public.
Walker, of Milnshaw Lane, Accrington, and Nix, of Edleston Street, Accrington, both pleaded guilty to burglary and were jailed for 20 months.
The court heard how Walker, who was on licence from jail at the time of the burglary, had a ‘considerable number of previous offences’ including burglaries in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Nix had more than 130 previous convictions including 15 non-dwelling burglaries.
Recorder David Swinnerton said prolific shoplifter Nix had been ‘routinely dishonest for most of his life’.
He told the court: “It would have caused disruption to the surgery and the patients because the equipment was damaged.
“They stole a defibrillator which could not only be used by dental patients but anyone on the street nearby who was having a heart attack.”
Pair 'were looking for money to buy drugs'
Barristers representing Nix and Walker said they were looking for money to buy drugs.
Darren Lee-Smith, defending Nix, told the court: “He has the record of a long term drug user.
"He was using drugs less and less but unfortunately in the build-up to this offence the defendant’s mother and father were killed in a car crash.
“He used drugs as an escape mechanism and required money. He had no benefits and was desperate for money. There wasn’t any violence, threats or weapons used.”
Robert Elias, defending Walker, said he ‘never had much of a chance’ of avoiding drugs after being born to an ‘addictive mother’.
He said: “Almost his first memory is her overdosing in McDonald’s and he didn’t understand why she was poorly.
“It was almost inevitable he was going to be someone with a drug problem. He never had much of a chance.
“He is doing all he can in custody to sort himself out. He has it within his powers to come off drugs while in custody.
"The problem is staying off drugs when out of custody. The offence was committed with his father-in-law to get money for drugs.”