Burglar took TV and bag as Stoke pub landlady slept
PROLIFIC burglar James Corcoran left a pub landlady terrified after breaking into the venue as she slept.
The 32-year-old entered the living quarters above the Grays Corner pub, in Stoke, through an unlocked window, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Heather Chamberlin said the pub was closed for a refurbishment at the time of the break-in, in the early hours of August 13, and the landlady woke at 3.15am to find windows and doors had been opened.
Miss Chamberlin said: "She was very frightened. She locked herself in the bedroom and called the police.
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"When the officers arrived she looked round and realised her handbag had been taken from the bedroom next to the one she had been sleeping in."
The court heard a 42-inch television had also been stolen.
Officers noted the intruder entered through a window and fingerprints matched the defendant's.
Corcoran was arrested on November 12. In his police interview he answered no comment to questions but did say: "They have stitched me up."
However, Corcoran, of Fletcher Road, Stoke, later pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court was told Corcoran had numerous previous convictions for burglary. He received a community order in December and was jailed for four months earlier this month for burgling a chemists.
Jason Holt, mitigating, said Corcoran was not aware the pub's living quarters were occupied.
"He made entry via an insecure, transient window," said Mr Holt.
"That appears to be his preferred method of entry.
"However, I accept there have been forced entries in the past."
But Mr Holt said this was an opportunistic burglary.
"It was certainly not planned," he said. "He was in a difficult place at the time. He is a young man who has struggled through his adult life with a drug addiction. At the time he was sleeping rough," said Mr Holt.
He said Corcoran had been dealt with for a number of offences since that night and added that the defendant was now on a methadone reduction programme and had gone through a period of detoxification while in custody.
Judge Paul Glenn said the minimum sentencing provisions applied because of Corcoran's previous convictions and he jailed him for three years. The judge said: "You burgled these premises while the female licensee was in bed.
"There was plainly potential for confrontation and the items stolen were never recovered. This offence caused her inconvenience and stress."
Judge Glenn said the offence was committed while Corcoran was on bail and subject to a community order.
He added: "You are a prolific burglar. Having committed this, you carried on offending afterwards and ended up with a sentence in January."
Corcoran will serve up to half the sentence with the rest on licence.