Reformed Burnley crook returned to crime after losing both parents in two days court told

A reformed crook returned to crime more than 20 years on after tragedy struck and he lost both his parents in two days, a court heard.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 11:25 am
A reformed crook from Burnley returned to crime after his parents died within two days of each other, magistrates were told.
A reformed crook from Burnley returned to crime after his parents died within two days of each other, magistrates were told.

Michael Smith had looked after both his late mother and father, dedicating his life to their care.

His mother had suffered from cancer and his father, who had had Alzheimer's disease, died the very next day.

Burnley magistrates were told how Smith had found himself homeless and had a problem with his benefits before he and another man, who he met wandering around the town centre, burgled a toy shop.

The 40-year-old defendant also went shoplifting and pinched 16 packets of biscuits and two jars of coffee worth £25 from Home Bargains in the town.

The hearing was told Smith and another man reached through a window already broken at The Entertainer on Charter Walk Shopping Centre, Burnley, and helped themselves to more than £100 worth of goods. Police found them sitting on the ground surrounded by their haul.

Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, said:" He does have a record for dishonesty. He has not been in trouble since 1997 or 1998."

Probation officer Elliott Smith, who interviewed the defendant, said Smith was sofa surfing.

He said Smith, who suffered from bi-polar disorder, had looked after his late parents, who he had lived with.

The officer continued:"His whole life was more or less dedicated to that care.

"He is clearly very ashamed and very embarrassed he is before you. "

Mr Mark Williams, defending, said there had been a problem with Smith's benefits.

The solicitor continued:" The burglary was entirely opportunistic. It was just somebody he met from wandering around in the town.

"They have walked past the window which has been broken and they reached in."

The defendant of Prairie Crescent, Burnley, admitted burglary on Monday, April 29th and theft on Wednesday, March 27th.

He was given a six-month community order, with a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was fined £40, with an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.