A BURGLAR who was caught with most of his £3,500 haul in a holdall after the victim turned detective and managed to track him down has been jailed for a year.
David Collins, who sat in the dock at Warwick Crown Court clutching a crucifix, said he intended to study to be a lay preacher during his time behind bars.
The 49-year-old, of Bennett Road in Rugby had pleaded not guilty to burgling the house on Bath Street, claiming he had found the holdall, but was found guilty after a trial at Warwick crown Court.
“Had you pleaded guilty I might have been able to consider suspending it, but after fighting a trial that’s impossible,” Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him.
“This was a case you had fought at trial in the face of evidence which was overwhelming.”
The court had heard in April last year Marc Griffiths’ home on Bath Street was broken into and ransacked, and a large amount of property was taken including two watches, his work i-Phone and laptop computer.
After reporting the burglary to the police Mr Griffiths put the word out that he was looking for his property, and had a call telling him to go to the Travelodge hotel.
When he arrived he saw Collins, who was with a teenager who has been cleared of being involved in the break-in, and confronted them. Eventually Collins admitted to him to being responsible, Heidi Kubik, prosecuting, said.
And when Mr Griffiths demanded his stuff back Collins handed him a holdall with most of the property in it except for an i-Pad which was later found at the teenager’s home.
The police turned up and Collins was arrested, but he claimed he had found the holdall with the property in it.
Miss Kubik Collins had a large number of previous convictions for dishonesty, including burglaries and thefts in the late 80s and handling stolen property in the 90s, and just a few days before the burglary he had been given a conditional discharge for disorderly behaviour.
Mark Sharman, defending, said Collins – who maintained he was not involved in this offence – had suffered a marriage break up and his life took a downward spiral due to his use of class A substances and alcohol.
“He has made efforts in the past to stop his drinking, but he found the withdrawal symptoms too much to bear. But he has been abstinent from both class A drugs and alcohol since before the trial.”
Mr Sharman failed to convince the Judge to suspend the sentence on the basis Collins had a heart attack in the past and suffered from diabetes and depression.