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Gloucestershire Business News

Burglar stole £36,000 worth of property from farmhouse near Dursley

A 31-year-old Matson burglar who stole £36,000 worth of property including a Second World War ceremonial sword when he ransacked a farmhouse near Dursley has been jailed for 16 months.

Alfrted Wordsworth of Garnalls Road, Matson, caused £5,000 worth of damage during the raid at Westfield Farm in Coaley in August 2018, Gloucester Crown Court was told on Monday (November 29).

Prosecutor Caitlin Evans said Wordsworth entered the isolated farmhouse, which had been left secured, sometime between August 24 and 28 in 2018, but when the owner returned on August 28, he found that the property had been broken into and he called the police.

She added: "The homeowner first noticed that a lot of his possessions had been strewn across the front garden and that a number of windows had been smashed along with the alarm box also being removed."

"Damage was also discovered to a number of exterior doors leading to the dining room. Keys had been taken from inside the property and used to search a number of outbuildings, but nothing seemed to have been taken.

"Wordsworth was identified by his DNA because he had left a discarded cigarette butt and a head torch at the scene."

The court was told that the property owner had provided a very extensive list of items that had been stolen which included laptop computers, golf clubs and trolleys to a value of £3,312 as well as electrical, gardening and DIY tools and a kitchen knife set to the value of £33,000.

Also stolen was a ceremonial sword dating back to the Second World War, which was owned by the victim's grandfather and has not been recovered.

In a victim impact statement, the homeowner said: "I'm now very nervous about being in the property on my own. I always question myself about what would have happened had I been at home when he chose to ransack the property.

"I've worked hard to own my own home. The value of what was stolen and the cost of repairing the damage amounts to £41, 853."

Joe Maloney, defending, said Wordsworth had an addiction to ecstasy, the psychoactive drug also known as MDMA. He had put his hands up to the burglary at the earliest point in the court process.

He added: "He had a difficult upbringing, which he has never recovered from. He became embroiled with the wrong sort of people who led him astray.

"Wordsworth had moved away from this area when he gained employment, but he lost this during the pandemic lockdown and moved back.

"Over the past three years he has made big strides to turn his life around. He believes that his life will go in a completely different direction in the future. He has spent a lifetime of making bad choices and during the recent years he has started to make some good choices."

Wordsworth pleaded guilty to burgling Westfield Farm in Coaley and stealing £36,000 worth of belongings between August 24-28, 2018.

Judge Michael Cullum told Wordsworth: "You originally chose to deny matters, despite DNA evidence. You told lies to the police, which forced them to undertake a more detailed investigation than was necessary.

"You ransacked the property and caused substantial damage as you did so. This has had the effect of causing the home owner to suffer significant trauma from your burglary.

"There must have been a degree of planning in targeting this property. However, a ceremonial sword, that meant so much to the home owner, has never been recovered. In my judgement only a custodial sentence can be justified. I accept that you have shown some remorse having written a letter to this court."

The judge sentenced Wordsworth to 16 months in prison and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge on release.

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