Man burgled a family home before Christmas due to financial pressures of Covid pandemic, Leeds Crown Court heard

A man has been sent to prison after burgling a house due to the financial pressures of the pandemic, a court has heard.

By Rebecca Marano
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 4:42 pm

Paul Walker, 57, of Harlech Way, Garforth, broke into the home of a young family shortly before Christmas last year, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Walker went to the house, in Kippax, shortly after 4.15pm on December 21, 2021, armed with tools intending to be used to break in.

Miss Jade Edwards, prosecuting, said Walker first attempted to break in through the back door of the property and caused significant damage to the door trying.

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Paul Walker, 57, of Harlech Way, Garforth, was jailed after pleading guilty to burglary in December 2021. Photo: West Yorkshire Police.

When he was unable to gain access through the back door, he then climbed up the house and gained access through the skylight.

Once inside he stole items of around approximately £3,510 worth of value.

These items included sentimental items such as a necklace with the victim's children's names on, Christening bracelets and a RAF medal which was handmade by the victim's grandfather in the 1940s.

The victim discovered the burglary when she returned home to put her shopping away and the police were called.

The court heard that crime scene investigators found that defendant had cut himself when accessing the property and two blood samples were taken from the scene.

DNA results confirmed that the blood belonged to Walker and he was arrested.

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Walker pleaded guilty to one count of burglary at Leeds Magistrates' Court on January 4, 2022.

Stephen Smithson, mitigating for Walker, who has 22 previous convictions for 44 offences, said the defendant had worked as a gym instructor during his previous time in prison.

The court heard that Walker had since worked intermittingly as a painter and decorator but that due to Covid he has faced financial pressures as he was not able to go on furlough or claim financial assistance.

Mr Smithson said that defendant has grandchildren and committed the offence in the run up to Christmas due to the financial pressures.

He added that his client admitted guilt at the first opportunity and accepted he would receive a custodial sentence.

Recorder David Kelly sentenced Walker to 32 months imprisonment on Tuesday, January 25.

Mr Kelly said: "You went armed with some tools and tried to break in. You caused damage in excess of £4,000 trying to break the door so then entereted through a skylight window, which was your downfall as you cut yourself and, due to your record, you were easily traced using DNA.

"The stolen property has not been recovered.

"Due to the Covid pandemic you were not able to work.

"There were many people in that situation but they relied on benefits rather than burglary as you did."

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