'Professional burglar' who ransacked homes during £6,000 spree is dismissed as liar by judge before he is jailed

A ‘PROFESSIONAL’ burglar who fell back into his old ways during a burglary spree was dismissed as a liar by a judge before he was thrown behind bars.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 1:06 pm

Terence Shea, 70, ransacked two empty houses and a holiday home where he stole sentimental jewellery items worth £6,200, prosecutor Michael Mason told Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

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Shea broke into two properties in Warblington Road, Emsworth, in October 2018 where he tipped items on the floor before making off with items including a diamond ring, bracelet and pearl necklace belonging to a lady in her 80s from the first home.

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Terence Shea Picture: Sussex Police

In the second home, which Shea entered after smashing conservatory windows, he stole a bag of £2 coins amounting to £140.

During the raid of the holiday home in Pebble Bay, East Bracklesham, Shea was spotted on CCTV searching the house but did not find anything to steal.

The female victim whose jewellery was stolen, in a statement read out to court, said: ‘It really shocked me. The jewellery stolen was given to me by my late husband and my grandmother.

‘I had to cut short my holiday to come home and have been unable to sleep.’

The male pensioner, whose home was burgled of £140, said: ‘I feel as though there has been an invasion of privacy at my home.’

Shea’s DNA was found at the first two houses while he was stopped by police after the Pebble Bay burglary on December 24, 2019, but gave false details.

It took police until July this year to catch up with Shea after he slipped through their hands.

The pensioner - who has 33 convictions to his name, including 22 house burglaries during his criminal career - claimed he received a minimal amount of money for the jewellery he took.

Before deciding on what sentence to impose and with no reference to where the money had gone from the jewellery items sold, judge William Ashworth asked the defendant to take the stand on oath to explain.

Shea, who told the court he had been living in a tent in Bosham before it was burnt down, claimed he was told by a jeweller ‘known to accept stolen goods’ that the goods were fake and virtually worthless.

‘I took five items along to the jeweller and he told me four of them were worthless,’ Shea said.

Shea, who has cancer, told the court he accepted an offer of £20 for the pearl necklace and £80 for a gold bracelet. ‘I just wanted the money and was scared I would be caught,’ he said.

The defendant said he bought a new tent for £49 from Argos in Portsmouth and donated the rest of the items to Oxfam in the city centre.

But judge Ashworth said: ‘I don’t believe a word of it. I believe it was a high value burglary and you sold these on to your contacts for considerable value.’

Shea, of Cormorant Way, East Wittering, admitted three charges of burglary.

The court heard he was ‘terrified’ of being jailed after inmates thought he was a ‘paedophile’ and wanted to ‘beat him up’.

But judge Ashworth told him: ‘You are a professional burglar Mr Shea.’

He then jailed Shea for three years and four months.

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