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Gloucestershire Business News

Prolific burglar jailed

A 45-year-old prolific burglar has been jailed for 25 months after breaking into a house in Upton St Leonards while the occupant was at home asleep.

At Gloucester Crown Court on Thursday (October 7), Alun Williams, prosecuting, said that Barry Heffren, of Matson Lane, Gloucester, is a 'prolific night time burglar' who targets homes while occupants are sleeping.

On 15th October 2019, he said, Mr David Thompson went to bed after securing his home in Upton St Leonards but leaving open a small ventilation window in the conservatory.

Mr Thompson was awoken at 3am by the sound of cufflinks being knocked off his bannister. He looked through the bedroom door and saw a male shape standing on the stairs.

"Mr Thompson gets up and goes downstairs and hears a noise coming from the back of the house," said the prosecutor. "He goes into the conservatory and sees a man jumping over a fence in the corner of the garden.

"He then looks around and sees the small ventilation window hanging off its hinges. His wallet was stolen along with bank cards and other documents and a quantity of cash. When the wallet was recovered the cash, believed to have been around £200, had been stolen.

"Heffren was identified by his DNA left at the window opening and by the home owner's CCTV."

In a victim statement Mr Thompson said: "I have suffered as a result of this burglary. I am so anxious that I am scared to sleep in my own home. It has affected my work and I feel the sanctity of my home has been breached."

Heffren has 34 previous convictions for 141 offences, said the prosecutor.

"Calling him a prolific burglar is something of an understatement. He has spent a large portion of his adult life in custody."

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: "He denies committing the offence and says to the probation officer that he only pleaded guilty so he would get a lesser sentence. That's quite a sad expression."

Sarah Jenkins defending said: "Heffren has mental health issues, which is why he denies committing the offence. He basically didn't want to talk about his offending that day.

"Since this offence in October 2019, he has become drug free and it is the longest period of time he has not been in custody during his adult life. This is also the first time he has secured permanent accommodation. He has spent a very long time on electronic curfew.

"He states he can't face another period in custody. He generally admits his guilt on his arrest, but on this occasion he didn't."

Judge Lawrie added: "He is still in denial. It took him 13 months to admit his guilt."

Heffren pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to entering as a trespasser a property in The Wheatridge East in Upton St Leonards on October 16, 2019, and stealing a wallet containing cash of an unknown value.

Judge Lawrie told Heffren: "You committed this burglary without having any consideration of the impact it would have on the home owner,

"You've been committing burglaries for most of your life. You will be well aware of the impact that this has on other people's lives.

"You have an appalling track record and over time you have asked for well over 100 burglaries to be taken into account when you are sentenced, which demonstrates that you are persistent.

"However, for the past two years you have kept out of trouble, but in reality I have no option but to impose a custodial sentence, mainly because of your failure to recognise your offending."

The judge sentenced Heffren to two years and one month in prison and ordered him to pay a £181 victim surcharge on release.

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