Hanley burglar Warren Stockton jailed after stealing victim's handbag while on licence
BURGLAR Warren Stockton has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
The 25-year-old, who has convictions for 35 offences including several burglaries, acted as a lookout for an accomplice who broke into sheltered accommodation in the early hours of May 27.
Prosecutor David Bennett yesterday told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court the victim, who lives at the Earls Court complex run by Aspire in Newcastle, went to bed at 10pm on May 26.
"She left the property secure, save for a small window in the living room which was left ajar," said Mr Bennett.
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"At 1am police saw two men acting suspiciously at the rear of the Borough Arms Hotel in close proximity to the accommodation.
"Plain clothes police chased and lost the two suspects."
Mr Bennett said police attended the victim's home who told them her handbag and contents were taken.
The court heard some of her property was found discarded a short distance away.
And fingerprints were found on two pieces of paper in the woman's handbag.
Stockton was arrested on May 30. He accepted being in the vicinity with the other man but denied all knowledge of the burglary.
He was interviewed again by officers on July 10, when the scientific evidence was put to him, but he continued to deny all involvement in the offence.
However Stockton, of Lower Mayer Street, Hanley, yesterday pleaded guilty to burglary.
Stuart Muldoon, mitigating, said Stockton was realistic and knew he would be going back to jail.
"He accepts what he did was wrong," said Mr Muldoon.
"He is somebody who can use his time very well. On his release he is going to leave the country and go abroad."
The court was told that Stockton had only been out of prison three months when he committed the offence.
Judge Paul Glenn said the minimum sentencing provisions applied in the case and sent Stockton to jail for three-and-a-half years.
"You were, on your own admission, jointly involved in the burglary of an occupied dwelling house at night," said Judge Glenn.
"It was occupied by a retired lady living alone who was in bed at the material time.
"Your basis of plea is that you were the lookout and did not enter. It is quite plain you and the person were looking for someone to thieve from."
Judge Glenn added: "You have been before the courts on a number of occasions for offences of burglary. You were on licence at the time. You were only released in February and you were at it again by May."