Burglar wrote sorry letter to friend victim from prison

Alan Bates
Alan Bates

A housebreaker who wrote a ‘sorry’ letter from prison to a friend who was his latest victim was jailed again after his third ‘three strikes’ burglary.

Alan Bates, 35, was seen kicking in the porch door of the woman’s home in broad daylight after he had threatened a man with a claw hammer earlier.

You have an appalling record for burglary and other acquisitive crime, and I have no doubt that is because for a considerable time you have struggled with the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Judge James Brown

The man phoned the police and then followed Bates through the streets before calling them again to report the burglary.

Prosecutor Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court Bates appeared to be intoxicated when he was arrested at the scene. He said he was on Methadone for his heroin addiction and he drunk two cans of super-strength lager.

The burglary victim, a single mother of two, said in an Impact statement later:”I feel scared that someone has come into my house, I feel nervous that this has happened.”

Bates, who denied having a hammer, had 63 convictions for 163 offences, and he was facing his third mandatory minimum three-year jail term under the ‘three-strikes’ rule. He had been given third-strike sentences in 2004 and 2010.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said two witnesses had described Bates as being intoxicated and after his arrest he was taken to hospital where he remained for eight hours.

He had been addicted to heroin for eight years, and was now on Methadone treatment and battling alcoholism: “He tells me that about a fortnight ago he wrote a letter to the victim apologising for his behaviour,” said Mr Constantine.

“He has known her for some time and also knows her partner, and he has been a visitor to her address.

“He feels that something may have been added to his drink because otherwise he would not have behaved in that way.”

Mr Constantine said that Baker forced his way into the porch but he did not go into the house or steal anything.

Judge James Brown told Baker he had an appalling record for burglary: “You have an appalling record for burglary and other acquisitive crime, and I have no doubt that is because for a considerable time you have struggled with the influence of alcohol and drugs.”

Bates, of Fulthorpe Avenue, Hartlepool, was jailed for 876 days or about two years five months after he pleaded guilty to the November 1 burglary in West View Road, Hartlepool.