AN ELDERLY couple were ‘blissfully unaware’ when a third-strike burglar broke into their home while at least one of them was in the house.
Sean Lines, 27, who is from Rugby but of no fixed address, was jailed for just over 28 months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to burgling the house in December and stealing a television and remote control.
As a third strike burglar, Lines faced a minimum sentence of three years, but was entitled to a 20 per cent discount from that for his plea.
So he ended up being jailed for 876 days – or about 28-and-a-half months.
Prosecutor Daniel Oscroft said that on December 21 a couple in their 70s returned to their home in Oliver Street, Rugby, at lunchtime and everything was in order.
But when their son got home from work at 6pm he found there had been a burglary and a television and remote control had been stolen from the conservatory.
In fact about two hours earlier Lines had sold them at the Cash N Go shop in High Street for £20. He was identified as the seller and arrested.
When he was first questioned he blamed another man for the burglary, claiming he had been given the television by that man – who was himself questioned and denied being involved.
“He then blamed a woman, who he also named, but by then the police were not having any of it and charged him,” said Mr Oscroft.
The court heard that Lines had a number of previous convictions going back to 2006, including a burglary in 2010 and an aggravated burglary for which he was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2011.
David Everett, defending, conceded: “He knows he faces the minimum sentence of three years, less any reduction for his plea.”
He pointed out that Lines had gone two-and-a-half years without offending following his release from his last sentence.
Determined to stay off heroin, which had been behind his earlier offending, Lines had been on a methadone prescription – but had been ‘up and down’ with his use of that.
On the day of the ‘sneak-in burglary,’ during which he only entered the conservatory at a time when, said Mr Everett, one of the elderly couple was at home and the other was out shopping, he wanted money to buy more methadone.
Jailing Lines, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You don’t need a lecture from me, because you are paying a very high price for taking a television worth £20.
“It is very unfortunate that after doing quite well for two-and-a-half years after your release, you are in this position. I have no option whatsoever in the sort of sentence I pass.”