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Gloucestershire Business News

Cheltenham burglar with ‘encyclopaedic’ criminal record sentenced

An entrenched 57-year-old burglar with an 'encyclopaedic' criminal record has been jailed for three years and nine months after he broke into homes in Cheltenham and stole two racing bikes and a quantity of jewellery.

Prosecutor Jack Barry told Gloucester Crown Court on Monday (November 21) that Winston Allen, a father of six, of High Street, Cheltenham, had been remanded in custody since his latest burglary in Northfield Terrance on September 17, 2022.

Mr Barry said: "Allen broke into the property by smashing a window and gaining entry through it. A large quantity of jewellery was stolen which had a substantial personal and emotional value to the owner and a not an insignificant financial value of around £500.

"Some of the items of jewellery have since been returned. The owner has had to pay £300 as the excess on her insurance to cover the break in and it is likely to be an additional £300 to have the window fixed.

"His earlier burglary in 2020 in Monson Avenue in Cheltenham was committed between December 27 and 30, 2020 while the owner was away. Allen stole two branded racing bikes with the marques of Scott and Sava.

"The value of these bikes is unknown. However, they have since been returned to the rightful owner. The cost of repairing the broken window was £150."

The court heard that Allen had partially planned his burglaries as he went equipped and had used gloves on both occasions, but had taken them off when he stole the racing bikes because he left his fingerprints behind on a window.

The court was told that Allen has previously been convicted 44 times for 121 offences. Twenty-one of these previous convictions were for burglary.

Judge Ian Lawrie KC commented: "I have read the contents of the pre-sentence report in which it states that 'Allen is beyond help by probation'.

"However, he is a third strike burglar and will be sentenced accordingly. He's had non-custodial sentences in the past and has breached numerous orders. He's had help with his drug addiction, and he's been in custody.

"And now he is back in the dock waiting to be sentenced again. How many chances does he need to be given? He is a habitual criminal."

Catherine Spedding, defending Allen, said: "He is at the stage in his life that he wants to turn his life around. He was not under the influence of drugs for the 2020 burglary, but had resorted to burglary because he had run out of money.

"However, since that time he has tried to stay away from that lifestyle but when times are hard, he resorted to what he knew.

"There needs to be an intervention from professionals at some point in his life. Whilst in custody Allen has become an enhanced prisoner."

Allen admitted that he burgled a property in Monson Avenue, Cheltenham on December 27 and 30, 2020 and stole two racing bikes. He also pleaded guilty to burgling a home in Northfield Terrace, Cheltenham, on September 17 this year and stealing jewellery.

Judge Lawrie told Allen: "You asked for a pre-sentence report to be carried out on you. I'm not sure what value this is, I suspect minimal, because it states you are an entrenched burglar with a pattern of offending that has been carried out over the years.

"You've had various long spells in custody, but this deterrent is obviously not working. Your youngest child would benefit from you being at home, but this is not going to happen for a while.

"I've read your letter to the court, but I don't accept its contents. In reality, I have no option but to impose a custodial term."

The judge sentenced Allen to three years and nine months in prison and ordered him to pay a mandatory surcharge of £190.

Judge Lawrie concluded by telling Allen to read the victim impact statements and said: "I hope you realise the harm you cause when you enter the personal spaces of your victims and invade the sanctity of their homes."

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