Hartlepool window cleaner burgled 83-year-old customer's home and also stole from his own cousin

Stephen McGarry
Stephen McGarry

A window cleaner who burgled the homes of a cousin and an elderly customer has been jailed for 30 months.

Stephen McGarry took an Xbox from his cousin and a purse belonging to the 83-year-old woman.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

McGarry tried to sell the Xbox to a Cash Converters store in Hartlepool, but they would not accept it.

He successfully used the elderly woman's bank card in convenience store for one transaction, but was declined when he tried to use it again, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The judge presiding in the case described them as 'mean offences' and said he knew the elderly woman was the occupant of the house and he "took advantage".

"McGarry was seen on CCTV going in to his cousin's house empty handed and leaving carrying the Xbox," said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.

"The daughter of the neighbour of the elderly woman saw him between her house and her mother's house.

"She then saw him emerge from the elderly woman's house carrying a red purse.

"She challenged him, he replied that all he had was a pack of baccy."

McGarry was identified from CCTV taken at a nearby convenience store.

"There was a payment card in the purse and £40 in cash," said Ms Haigh.

"The card was used to buy tobacco and other products with a total value of £26.

"No PIN number was needed because it was a contactless payment card.

"A second attempted transaction was declined."

The court heard the victim told police McGarry was her window cleaner, and he had last visited to do the windows the day before the burglary.

"She has found the whole incident very distressing," said Ms Haigh.

"It has made her wonder if it's not time for her to go into a home."

McGarry, 38, of Brougham Terrace, Hartlepool, admitted burglary on May 21 and October 14, and he admitted three offences of fraud.

Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: "The offences were carried out to get money for Class A drugs.

"Mr McGarry is realistic, and he knows the consequences of his actions.

"He did not target the elderly lady, he tried her door, found it open, and took the opportunity to steal her purse.

"This has been his first time on remand, which at the age of 38 has come as a shock."

Judge Simon Bourne Arton jailed McGarry for 30 months.

The judge told him: "These were mean offences, stealing from your cousin and from an elderly woman.

"You knew she was the occupant of that house, and you took advantage of that."