A TEENAGE burglar who targeted the home of an 81-year-old widower in a Christmas raid has been locked up for more than two years.
Reece Lewis was part of a gang which targeted the pensioner’s home in Newham Court, Hartlepool, and removed an entire window before entering the property.
Among the items stolen were expensive ornaments and pottery which had been part of a collection built up the victim’s late wife.
Teesside Crown Court heard that the pensioner, who discovered he had been burgled when he returned home on Boxing Day having spent Christmas Day with his family, has now made plans to move to a new property.
Fingerprints found at the point of entry identified Lewis, who had three previous convictions for burglary.
Prosecutor David Crook said that it was an aggravating feature that the property stolen was of great sentimental value, and also that Lewis was part of a gang of burglars.
Jim Withyman, defending, said that Lewis went “off the rails” after his grandmother died four years ago.
He had spent weeks on remand in Holme House Prison, Stockton, which he had found “quite shocking and frightening”.
Mr Withyman added: “He accepts that this was a particularly mean offence against an 81-year-old man.”
The judge told Lewis that he accepted that he had stayed outside while the burglary was being committed.
Recorder Richard Woolfall said: “You were part of a group and they entered that property and a number of items of high sentimental value were taken from it.
“The old man has lost memories, and he has got to leave that property and start somewhere else.”
The judge added: “Any more burglaries and you will start to receive longer and longer sentences.”
Lewis of Burbank Street, was jailed for 876 days after he pleaded guilty to a third-strike burglary which attracts a minimum of three years custody before deductions for a guilty plea.