Two prolific raiders who targeted and ransacked a man’s home in Burnley have been locked up for a total of almost six years.
Burnley Crown Court heard how drug addicts Colin Raw (44), and Steven Rickwood (38), were caught red-handed attacking the house on Pritchard Street in the early hours. Raw was bailed and struck again, while his accomplice had appeared in Burnley Magistrates’ Court just the day before the offence.
Raw, of Arran Street, and Rickwood, of Cog Lane, both Burnley, admitted burglary on May 9th.
Raw, who had also been committed for sentence after being convicted of the second burglary, was jailed for three years two months. Rickwood was sent to prison for two years five months.
Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said the victim’s house was mainly boarded up after a previous break-in just weeks before, except for a glass panel in the back door.
He had gone to stay with his girlfriend and just after 2am police received a call to say two men were burgling the property.
Officers found the glass panel had been smashed and could hear noises. They went in and found both defendants, each carrying a holdall.
Rickwood was wearing latex gloves. Both were under the influence of either drink of drugs. The holdalls contained clothing, a passport and personal papers belonging to the victim.
Miss Statham said Raw claimed the bag belonged to him. Raw made no comment when questioned, while Rickwood told police he at first thought nobody lived in the house.
Raw went on to burgle an empty house on Nairne Street, Burnley, in June, when the boiler, copper piping and sinks were ripped out and about £2,000 worth of damage was caused.
Miss Statham said Raw had 24 previous convictions for house burglary. His co-defendant had “numerous“ convictions for house burglary.
Richard Taylor (defending Raw) said he had had a significant drug problem for many years, which had impacted on his life. He had tried to supplement his benefits by collecting scrap and sometimes did that by going into what he believed were derelict properties.
He said: “He’s on the drug-free wing, he’s doing much better in custody and he’s on a reducing methadone programme.
“He will make the most of the inevitable custodial sentence the court will impose.”
Martin Hackett (defending Rickwood) urged the court to defer sentence.
He said: “It would seem that he is eventually pulling his life together, and not before time, I accept.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt told the pair they had not been deterred “in the slightest” by the fact the house had been someone’s home.
She said: “Just like in the past, you took no notice whatsoever of a non-custodial sentence.”