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Gloucestershire Business News

Prison for drunken burglar

A drunken burglar had the nerve to cook and eat food in a house he was raiding in Cheltenham, a judge heard.

But the brazen act led to the downfall of Konrad Piotrowksi, 36, because he left his DNA left behind on the spoon he used for his impromptu meal.

Defence lawyer, Sarah Jenkins, representing Piotrowski at Gloucester crown court, described her client as 'inept'. Not only did his meal give the game away, so did the noise he made as he tried to lift a bicycle over the electric gates at the house he had burgled.

The din roused a neighbour who called the police.

Piotrowski, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to burglary of the house on Sidenham Villas Road, Cheltenham on 29th March last year.

He also admitted possessing a 'Stanley style' locking knife in public on the same date.

Prosecutor Janine Wood said: "He took a knife in (to the house) but it is not the sort of case where the charge needs to be an aggravated burglary."

The barrister said that the property had been undergoing significant renovation.

There was scaffolding around the property and due to the nature of the work the resident decided to take her children and move in with family for a week. Her husband was working away at the time too, Mr Wood said.

On 28th March a carpenter left the property secure after he finished work for the day.

At 5.10am a neighbour was woken by the sound of Piotrowski trying to lift a bicycle over the electric gates.

The police saw Piotrowski at 5.45am pushing a bike along Sidenham Villas Road, and when he was stopped he was found to be in possession of the locking knife, but also a large amount of property from the address.

Mrs Wood said he had 'bank cards, silverware, computers, and military items'.

The house had been 'ransacked' with an untidy search of every room.

Mrs Wood explained that despite giving a no comment interview, the police could place Piotrowski inside the address after his DNA was found on a spoon.

Piotrowski had the audacity to cook himself a meal whilst committing the raid, she said.

The prosecutor added that Piotrowski caused a lot of damage gaining access to the property, with an insurance quote of £4,182.70 for repairs.

Piotrowski had a list of sixteen previous convictions covering twenty two offences, including one of burglary.

The householder made a statement which Mrs Wood read to the court.

In it she described how the offence had stopped her sleeping for over a week, and she felt Piotrowski showed 'such little respect stealing money from a child's moneybox'

She said she was 'extremely upset this happened', and 'it took two days to clear the house and sort the belongings, with sentimental items broken or stolen'.

Defence lawyer, Sarah Jenkins, highlighted the clumsy and noisy nature of her client's actions during the burglary.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: "I never quite fathom why ineptitude is a mitigating feature."

"He was out and about, and accepts he had been drinking excessively," Mrs Jenkins said.

The judge indicated he regarded that as an aggravating feature.

"He recalls being drawn to the premises because he thought it was empty. A lot of work being done," Mrs Jenkins said. "He thought it was somewhere he could spend his time."

"I have seen the damage to the door, it is not like he wanders in," the judge observed.

"He has in the past had a heroin addiction," Mrs Jenkins told the judge. "He says he is completely clean of that addiction. But still drinking plainly, and was in drink at the time of this offence.

"It was plainly a very untidy search in this house," she conceded.

"You breached the sanctity of someone's home," the judge told Piotrowski as he jailed him for 32 months.

"I accept you were homeless but that is no excuse," he said.

He told Piotrowski should reflect on the victim's statement and consider the 'upset' he had caused by his 'selfish drunken actions'.

"This is a serious offence," the judge said. "That is why you have to be sent to prison."

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