A BURGLAR who stole from an elderly couple while they were in their home has been jailed.
Barry Close appeared at Portsmouth Crown Court after he admitted stealing two gold lockets from his victims, aged 85 and 81.
You caused great stress to both victims and the sanctity of the home is violated.Judge Claudia Ackner
He also asked for 15 other offences, which dated back to 1997, to be taken into consideration for the sentencing.
The court heard that Close, 35, had left his victims feeling vulnerable in their home of 15 years.
Prosecutor Tammy Mears read out a statement from one of the victims, which said: ‘In the minutes after the burglary I was hysterical. I was unable to stay in my own home because I was so upset. I felt safer staying with my son.’
It added: ‘I feel dirty and this has been caused by this person. I am worried he will come back and I feel it will take us a long time to get over it. He has made us feel vulnerable and caused me to no longer feel like my home is a place of safety.’
Ms Mears told the court that on the night of the offence, on October 14, Close entered the victims’ house in Lee-on-the-Solent.
The couple heard a noise and went to investigate. The front door was open and as one of the victims went to close the door, Close appeared and shoved her before running off.
‘The victim stumbled after being shoved and shouted “stop”,’ said Ms Mears.
‘It was only when he had gone that they realised their two lockets were missing.’
‘The lockets had been bought as 50th wedding anniversary gifts and had pictures of the couple on their wedding day and a more recent one.
Ms Mears added: ‘They were valued at £600 but they had a sentimental value to the couple.’
When police arrived, they matched the description given by the victims to Close who was known to them.
They tracked him to his brother’s home and found the lockets on him.
During the court case, Ms Mears said Close, formerly of Gosport, had 33 previous convictions for 104 offences.
The court heard that since 2000 he had been sent to jail on numerous occasions for similar offences of burgling homes and businesses.
Sentencing Close to four years and five months in prison, Judge Claudia Ackner said: ‘You have an appalling history of criminal offending of more than 100 offences.
‘In this offence you took two very significant items of sentimental value.
‘These were fortunately recovered. You caused great stress to both victims and the sanctity of the home is violated.’
She added: ‘I accept that once you admitted your part you have told the police about a number of burglaries that they have now been able to close their files on.’
Defending Close, Howard Barrington-Clark said the defendant was working to be clear of his drug addiction.