Burglar stole man's Buddha statues, court told

Sessions House
Sessions House

A man went away overnight - only to find a burglar had stolen £1,900 of his possessions from his home.

Offender Lee Lockhart was foiled by the discovery of his fingerprints on the kitchen window, which he had removed to get into the house on Caroline Street, Preston.

Forensic officers from Lancashire Police had also found footprints in the kitchen that linked him to the scene, Preston's Sessions House Court was told.

The evidence ultimately led to his arrest - but he then denied his involvement.

Prosecuting, Karl Berry said the homeowner went away for one night on February 8 last year.

The 41-year-old intruder, who was subject to a suspended sentence order for a racist offence, managed to steal two televisions, a DVD player, and three pairs of sunglasses.

He also stole the man’s passport, aftershave and four Buddha statues.

He added: “ The complainant left his home locked and secured because he was to stay away for the night. He returned to find his house had been disturbed and items had been taken.

At first Lockhart lied that he had been in the house for a genuine reason but it was quickly refuted by his victim.

The court was told Lockhart, who had a “difficult background”, has paranoid schizophrenia which is exacerbated by abusing psychoactive substances.

While he has 24 convictions for 39 offences on his record, most are not burglary related.

Recorder Ciaran Rankin said he would only be entitled to 10 per cent credit for his late guilty plea.

He added: “ You had come through a kitchen window and stolen property. There is nothing to suggest the property was ever recovered.

“Your pre sentence report makes for rather unhappy reading.

“ Clearly a significant custodial sentence would have an adverse effect on your wellbeing. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s within your grasp to ensure you can recover from your substance misuse.”

His 12 month jail term was suspended for two years and he was given a rehabilitation activity and a curfew.