Leigh: Burglar hit home as parents took children to park

A burglar forced his way into a family home as a mother and father took their children to the park, a court has heard.

Shane Jones, 49, broke into the house on Queensway, Leigh on August 14.

He stole iPhones, watches and jewellery but Bolton Crown Court heard how he also caused for more lasting emotional damage to the family he targeted.

Charlotte Crangle, prosecuting, said: “They are not so much concerned about the items as they can be replaced, but they fear for their safety and for the safety of their children in their own home.”

She added: “The children keep asking if someone is coming back.”

Ms Crangle told the court how the family had left their home securely locked before leaving for the park on the day their home was burgled.

When they returned, they found a side window had been smashed, the backdoor was wide open and several valuable items had been taken.

A total of around £1,200 worth of their property had been taken.

When they tried to find out what had happened, a neighbour said her CCTV showed Jones, of Findlay Street, Leigh jumping over the garden fence.

Jones also appears to have been checking for other houses to target in the area by knocking on doors and asking if anyone was home.

Jones, who has 30 previous convictions for 117 offences, was arrested on September 1 and was also found to be carrying cocaine.

He admitted to his crimes when interviewed by the police and pleaded guilty to burglary and to possession of Class A drugs on October 7.

Ms Crangle explained that of Jones’ previous convictions, the first of which he committed at the age of just 11, 18 were for burgling family homes.

Another five were for ‘non-dwelling house burglaries’, meaning shops or businesses were targeted while two were for attempted burglaries.

Rachael Woods, defending, admitted that Jones, who appeared via video link from prison where he has been held since his arrest had a ‘appalling’ record for burglary.

But she told the court that since his arrest he had worked hard to try and turn his life around.

She claimed that he had lived a ‘very sad life’ and that most of his crimes were driven by his addiction to heroin and more recently cocaine, which he was trying to work on during his time in prison.

Ms Woods said: “He is, in his own words, ‘gutted’ for the people who’s house he broke in to.”

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But the Honorary Recorder for Bolton Judge Martin Walsh reminded the court of the lasting impact that burglary has on its victims.

He said: “Burglary is an offence that really impacts on the victims because it creates a real sense of insecurity, particularly in a family home where there are children and they feel that their home has been invaded.”

Judge Walsh sentenced Jones to two years and ten months in prison.

He also sentenced Jones to another seven days to run concurrently for possession of cocaine.

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