A HEARTLESS burglar who stole a disabled man’s mobility scooter and his precious fishing rods and nets during a spate of break-ins has been jailed.
James Hill had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to three burglaries, including one in which he disturbed a woman in her own bedroom.
Hill (21) of Eccles Close, Coventry, who also admitted handling a stolen bank card, was jailed for 16 months.
Prosecutor Graham Russell said that on the afternoon of December 1 last year a man found the garage of his home in Yewdale Close, Coventry, had been broken into.
His fishing rods and nets had been taken, together with his £2,000 mobility scooter, which had been specially adapted so he could use it to carry his tackle when he went fishing, which he described as his ‘greatest passion.’
The police recovered CCTV from a local shop which showed Hill and another person loading the stolen property into a van.
The on December 13, a woman and her four children were in bed at their home in Hornsey Close, Coventry, when Hill broke in in the early hours of the morning.
The woman was woken at 4.30 in the morning to see Hill in her bedroom, and he ran out when she challenged him.
He escaped from the house with property including a £1200 42-inch television – and a neighbour woken by a noise outside saw him cycling away trying to pull a wheelie bin.
The same night Hill had also broken into the shed of a house in nearby Hermes Crescent, from where he had stolen tools and fishing tackle.
A police officer who had been called to deal with the house burglary spotted Hill in Hermes Crescent and called to him.
He ran off, but was intercepted and arrested, and on him he had bank cards taken during the Hornsey Close break-in.
The police went to Caradoc Court, where he was living at the time, and found a wheelie bin containing the television, a fishing rod and other property taken in the two burglaries.
CCTV from the block showed Hill getting into the lift with the wheelie bin, and a recording from a local shop had captured him making contactless purchases using a stolen card he had received after it had been taken in another burglary.
Ian Speed, defending, conceded: “I know I start off with an uphill battle.
“This is my third generation of the Hill family, and how this young man has managed, at the age of 21, to avoid conviction until now is quite amazing.
“He’s frightened of imprisonment. He’s worried he will be taken into the protection of other people from Wood End who he’s been trying to get away from.”
Mr Speed explained that Hill had ‘found cocaine,’ which he could not afford, and was being encouraged by his suppliers to commit crime to fund it.
And he submitted: “Your Honour could take that one step backwards and not send him to prison.”
But jailing Hill, Deputy Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told him: “I cannot pass over convictions like this. You have got to go to custody, but there is some force in that which Mr Speed submits on your behalf.
“You have to go to custody, but it’s necessary to ensure you are not there so long that you become entrenched in the culture. It would have been considerably longer if it had not been for the submissions made on your behalf.”