Pensioner confronted burglar in his home

Stuart Stansfield,  35, Fylde Road, Preston, has been jailed for burglary at Preston Crown Court

Stuart Stansfield, 35, Fylde Road, Preston, has been jailed for burglary at Preston Crown Court

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A burglar who raided three homes in Preston said he was trying to get himself a better place to live when he set about his stealing spree.

Stuart Stansfield, 35, told officers he felt terrible about what he had done after meeting his 73-year-old victim as he left the scene.

Stansfield, of Fylde Road, Preston, broke into the houses in Waterloo Road and Rose Terrace, Ashton, after seeing the householders leaving in their cars shortly after 1pm on March 13.

As he left Rose Terrace, he was confronted by the homeowner who was returning from a shopping trip.

The man asked what he was doing and Stansfield claimed he was collecting for charity before running away carrying bags - which the man recognised.

Police arrested Stansfield close to the scene and he admitted: “Everything in the Morrisons except that grey top is theirs.”

He said he felt terrible, adding: “He’s an old guy. Imagine being faced with a big bloke like me.”

When he was checked into the custody suite at Preston Police Station he gave his occupation as ‘burglar’, the court heard.

He asked for a third burglary in Garstang Road, Fulwood, to be taken into consideration when he appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

The court heard Stansfield had a long standing drug addiction and since he was released from prison after serving a sentence for house burglary he had been housed in a shared complex of flats surrounded by addicts.

He had managed to stay off heroin but wanted to get away from the environment in which he was living, he said.

Mr Justice Sweeney, sentencing, said: “It must have been a huge shock for the homeowner to find you and you had the presence of mind to say you were collecting for charity, to endeavour to get away.

“You were arrested a short time afterwards and it is undoubtedly to your credit you accepted your guilt.”

He jailed Stansfield for 32 months.