A burglar helped strip a Leeds house bare of valuables and sentimental items – as the owners were abroad visiting a seriously-ill relative.
Callous Simon Brooks, 41, took items ranging from religious ornaments and jewellery right down to mundane household items like an inner tube, ironing board and even a bottle opener during two raids on the home in Hunslet, Leeds.
The house on Royal Place also had its boiler removed.
Brooks was arrested by officers leaving the property with copper piping, Leeds Crown Court was told.
Brooks also took football trophies which belonged to the late father of the owner and sold DVDs taken during the raid to Cash Converters – even after he had been released on police bail.
Thirteen bottles of wine, spirits and cigars were also taken.
Handing Brooks a 16-month prison sentence, Recorder Ian Harris told him he had “cannibalised” the family’s property.
The court heard the home owner and his mother were away in Romania visiting a sick relative when Brooks struck on April 27 this year.
He filled bags full of items and stashed them in bushes close to railway lines before returning to ransack the property for a second time.
The court heard the victims were left deeply distressed at the burglary and at losing sentimental items, which included trophies, a crucifix and religious coins.
The total value of property stolen was estimated to be in the region of £2,700.
After his arrest Brooks, of Winrose Garth, Belle Isle, admitted the offences to police investigtaors but denied being the only person to have targeted the house.
He claimed he had been simply passing the property on his mountain bike when he saw someone come out of the house and place what appeared to be the house keys close to a shed.
He said some stolen items were already in bags inside the house and he also denied stealing the boiler.
The court heard Brooks has other convictions for 23 offences dating back as far as 1988.
His barrister said Brooks had no previous convictions for burglary but had a long-standing drug problem and led a “chaotic” lifestyle.
Recorder Harris told Brooks: “Some items were of minimal financial value but of inestimable sentimental value.
“You were an enthusiastic participant in this criminal process and you ransacked this property.”