A BURGLAR high on crack ransacked a new home that was ready to welcome its first owners.
John Hems, 27, was tracked down to an address in Cottesmore Road, Uppingham, where he was living at the time, after his fingerprints were found in the house in Corby.
He did not turn up for his trial in March but he was found guilty in his absence, and was brought back before Corby Magistrates Court last week to be sentenced.
Prosecuting, Stella Moses said: “The property is a four-bedroom new build.
“It was fully fitted, complete, in clean order and ready for occupation.
“The site manager went to the house on November 2, 2011 and found water running out of the front door and the gas leaking.
“The property had a number of appliances ripped out of the kitchen, the sink was gone, as was the gas combi boiler.
“The piping was all ripped out and the kitchen units and skirting was ripped off.
“Lighting had also been removed, as had the plinths.”v
The total value of the missing items was £2,427. Hems’ fingerprints were discovered at the scene.
He was tracked down to his home and arrested. He has since moved to Corby to live with his pregnant girlfriend.
The probation service told the court that Hems had told them he wanted to find a quiet place to smoke some crack so had entered the house. Once inside, he had decided to steal the entire contents of the kitchen.
He denied that he had gone there intending to burgle the house or with tools and claimed he had ripped out the kitchen with his bare hands and carried all the items away by hand. He also denied any significant damage was done to the property and claimed that the victims had exaggerated the offence in order to inflate any claim for compensation.
Solicitor Gill Walker, mitigating, said that Hems had recently secured new employment. She said he did not remember committing the offence as he was high on drugs at the time.
Magistrates said they were concerned there were a number of aggravating features to Hems’ crime, not least that a gas escape was caused by his actions.
They sentenced him to six months in custody, with a further four-week sentence to run concurrently as punishment for failing to surrender to police bail.