DEPLORABLE burglar Clive Callaway tricked his way into homes, stole from people he worked for – and took a laptop from a pensioner who had put him up for months rent free.
A judge branded him 'morally deplorable' after it emerged the 47-year-old drug addict also stole from a pensioner who had given him a room for nine months
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Callaway also targeted student homes in Orchard Road, Trevor Road and Waterloo Street in June 2017 by claiming he was from Southsea firm Universal Properties – a company he had done odd jobs for – then stole laptops when students left him alone in the properties.
Jailing him for four years and six months, judge Adam Feest QC said: 'This is an appalling sequence of offences, you have been deliberately targeted other people's homes – you abused the trust that each of them, in their own different ways, have placed in you and you acted in a mean-spirited way with no regard for anybody else.'
Prosecutor Janice Brennan revealed Callaway, of Malta Road, Buckland, Callaway stole a Lenovo tablet from a home in Hobby Close, Hilsea.
The thief had the key to the property as he had done work there but had been in a dispute with the homeowner. Callaway even went back on July 4 and stole a phone worth £350.
But the bare-faced cheek of Callaway's actions reached a peak when he called a woman living in a home at Adamnes Road, Fratton, on July 17 last year.
He claimed a fence he worked on was under guarantee and 'offered to pop round and check it'.
'The defendant asked her to hold some tape for him claiming he needed to get something from the address,' Ms Brennan said.
'That ruse left her in the garden holding the tape and he went into the house taking the opportunity to steal her HP laptop.'
The next day detective work led police to spot Callaway at Cash Converters – where he was caught with a laptop.
They found that belonged to the victim of his 'meanest' crime - a pensioner who Callaway 'exploited' by turning up at his doorstep one day in 2016 asking for a bed for the night.
Nine months later Callaway had made the widower's home his own and forced him to lose his single-person council tax discount.
'Deplorable as that may be morally, that's not of itself a criminal offence but unfortunately that was not the worst of it,' judge Feest said as he criticised Callaway for going on to take the pensioner's Fujitsu laptop.
When Callway was arrested on July 18 red-handed with the laptop at cash Converters he was later released under investigation.
Within minutes he took the short stroll from Portsmouth Central custody to the Unite Students building in Greetham Street – tailgating a student in and swiping a mobile phone from the front counter.
Callaway, who said he stole to fund a drug habit, admitted five burglaries – at the homes of the students, pensioner and the woman with the fence – two thefts and fraud.
Investigating officer DC Roy Kimber said officers from several teams worked on the case.
'I genuinely believe that he only reason this offender stopped was because he was stopped,' he said.