A persistent burglar who ransacked a Menston house in broad daylight – escaping with computers, jewellery and a safe containing personal documents – has been jailed for four years.
Heroin addict Antony Cameron targeted the property in Burley Road just six months after being freed from a five-and-a-half-year prison stretch for similar offences, Bradford Crown Court heard on Monday.
Cameron, 30, of Lymington Drive in Holme Wood, Bradford, pleaded guilty to burgling the semi-detached house at 5pm on June 30.
Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock told the court he snapped the locks on the back patio doors and made an untidy search of several rooms.
He was seen by a neighbour making off with property from the house and loading it into a vehicle.
Miss Hancock said Cameron’s haul included a safe of personal papers, including a birth certificate and a will, wedding and engagement rings, computers, a watch and other jewellery. Nothing was ever recovered.
Cameron tried to use bank cards stolen in the burglary to withdraw money later that day but failed, the court was told.
He was arrested on July 24 after he was put at the scene of the break-in by a discarded cigarette butt outside the patio doors with his DNA on it.
Miss Hancock said Cameron initially denied the offence when interviewed by police, claiming the cigarette end must have been trodden on to the property on someone else’s footwear.
The court heard Cameron was a ‘fourth strike’ house-breaker, meaning he should receive a sentence of at least three years behind bars unless it was ruled unjust.
Cameron’s barrister, Giles Bridge, said his client was articulate and intelligent, with a loving and supportive family.
Misuse of drugs was at the root of his offending, and he appreciated the hurt and distress he caused householders when he invaded their homes.
Judge Roger Thomas QC labelled Cameron a “determined and sophisticated burglar”, who had stolen items that could never be replaced.
Medals and adoption papers were among personal items taken
The Menston family who were the targets of persistent burglar Antony Cameron said they felt relieved to have “closure” after he was jailed for his offences.
Angie and Stuart Robson, along with their nine-year-old daughter, Sophie, had their Burley Road home ransacked during broad daylight in June this year.
Mrs Robson, 37, said: “It’s nice to finally get closure on this and even better to see his face, especially behind bars for four years.
“I love the fact his lawyer said how he appreciates the hurt and distress he caused the householder. Rubbish, he knows nothing of what he did. Every night I have to accompany our daughter upstairs because she will not go on her own – she is too frightened.
“All my husband’s adoption papers – his last remaining link to his family – were stolen and my grandad’s medals were taken.”
The family, who have lived in the same house since 1999, were out at the time of the burglary, returning to the house later that day to find it in a mess after being ransacked by Cameron.
Mrs Robson added: “I remember that sinking feeling when we got back to the house. It was an absolute tip. I always like to leave it tidy – I even used to joke to people saying the house is tidy in case we get burgled.
“This experience rocked our family but, thankfully, we are a strong enough unit to cope.”
- What do you think? We welcome letters on this or any other subject. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Editor, Gazette and Observer, 8 Wells Road, Ilkley LS29 9JD. Please include your full name, address and daytime telephone number.