TWO burglars who went on a crime spree that included breaking into a 91-year-old woman’s house have left their victims afraid to be in their own homes.
Jason Hayward, 37, and Steven Clarke, 41 – who each have more than 100 previous convictions – broke into a string of homes in the Portsmouth area.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard they ransacked properties, stealing family heirlooms and jewellery – most of which has never been found.
Now Hayward has been jailed for five years and Clarke for 32 months after the pair admitted their crimes.
They were caught when two police officers in an unmarked car spotted them acting suspiciously outside a home in Langstone Road, Portsmouth.
Hayward was known to police and the officers drove back to the property, but the men had gone.
The officers searched the area and one on foot saw both men running towards him, taking gloves off.
Robert Forrest, prosecuting, said: ‘They clearly hadn’t realised that he was a police officer.
‘As Clarke ran past him he shouted “stop, police” and took him to the floor. Hayward ran into a nearby park.’
Meanwhile the 91-year-old resident had returned to her Langstone Road home to discover it had been burgled.
Clarke told police he had been out running, but later said he wanted to confess.
He took police to an industrial area where a jacket he was wearing at the time of the burglary and some of the jewellery stolen from the victim’s home were found.
Less than two weeks earlier the pair caused £4,500 of damage and fled with jewellery and other goods after breaking into a home in Warren Avenue, Portsmouth.
Police found evidence linked the men to a string of other burglaries in the area.
Hayward, of Balliol Road, Portsmouth, admitted three counts of burglary and 20 other crimes which were taken into consideration. He also admitted breaching a community order imposed for three other burglaries.
Clarke, of Eastern Road, Portsmouth, admitted three burglaries and 13 others were taken into consideration.
The crimes took place in November and December.
Addressing the pair, Recorder Patrick Clarkson QC, sentencing, said of one of their victims: ‘She doesn’t want to leave the house, obsessively checking doors and having panic attacks when returning to the property alone. She feels violated.
‘That’s what these burglaries do to people.’
91-year-old had to leave home after raid
Hayward and Clarke’s actions left their victims feeling violated and some afraid to be in their own homes.
In one burglary they fled a 91-year-old woman’s home in Langstone Road, Portsmouth, with family heirlooms.
The victim had to go and live with her sister after the raid. It was not made public whether she has since returned to her home.
A statement from the victim read out when the pair were sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court read: ‘Some of the items taken were very old and had great sentimental value.
‘One in particular was a solid gold watch that belonged to my mother.
‘I intended to pass it on to my granddaughter.’
She added: ‘That’s gone forever.
‘I don’t feel comfortable in my own home knowing the intruders have been in. Now I get scared. It takes a lot of courage for a 91-year-old lady to go and check her own home.’
During another burglary in the city the victims were left with £4,500 of damage to clear up.
One victim told The News: ‘It’s not the financial bother – it’s the sentimental.
‘There were lockets of my mum and my kids. They have taken a jewellery box. We thought our house was safe.’