A father today spoke of his relief after a burglar who sneaked into his house as he cared for is sick child was convicted.
James Hartley, 37, and another man who has never been identified, stole a car and Christmas presents in the early hours of December 28, as Kevin Moffatt looked after his sick child upstairs.
Mr Moffatt, 29, says he had fallen asleep after going to care for his son, who was suffering from a stomach bug, at around 11.30pm.
But as the father and son slept, Hartley crept into the house and stole the car keys, PS3 and a laptop Mr Moffatt had bought his wife for Christmas.
Mr Moffatt said: “It had such an effect on my family.
“I have had to upgrade my security systems.”
The thief sold the laptop but it was returned to the family when someone brought it to a local computer store asking for it to be unlocked. A member of staff at the store suspected something was wrong and tracked down Mr Moffatt through documents on the computer.
Mr Moffatt said: “The lad they sold it to took it into a computer shop asking for the passwords to be unlocked. The guy who worked there was wary of why he was bringing in a laptop making that request so he looked into it further. He saw my company name from my work time sheets and rang my boss. I’m really grateful to him for that.”
The car was later recovered in a nearby street where it had been crashed into a bollard, and Hartley was found hiding in nearby bushes.
He denied any involvement in the burglary and claimed he did not know the car was stolen. Around £6,000 in damage was caused.
But following a two-day trial at Preston Crown Court he was convicted of burglary of a dwelling and theft of a motor vehicle.
Mr Moffatt, who lives in Ashton, thanked the police and Crown Prosecution Service for the work they had done to bring the case to court.
Hartley, of Fletcher Road, Preston, will be sentenced at Preston Crown Court on October 2.