Barefooted burglar was suffering schizophrenia

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A SCHIZOPHRENIC burglar went on a bizarre 80-mile crime spree after walking seven miles across Sheffield in his bare feet.

Steve Cockayne walked from Intake to Eckington before breaking into a bungalow in Elm Road just before 4am.

Once inside, Cockayne demanded the female householder give him some socks.

He fled with a pair of trainers belonging to her husband and the keys to their van.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said Cockayne - who was distressed and crying while he was in the house - stole the van and drove to the East Coast but crashed into a hedge in the Lincolnshire village of Ancaster.

Next he smashed his way into a house while the occupants were asleep and, after taking their car keys, continued his journey in their Ford Focus.

He crashed again at Freiston near Boston in Lincolnshire, writing off the second car. Then he confronted two residents in the village in an attempt to steal another vehicle.

The court heard he succeeded in stealing another car, which had been left parked outside a house with the engine running.

His crime spree finally came to an end in Skegness where police used a stinger device to stop him in his tracks.

Cockayne was arrested and taken to hospital. Later he told police he could recall only fragments of events over the previous five hours.

Cockayne, aged 40, of Dominoe Grove, Intake, Sheffield, admitted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and attempted robbery.

He was given a three-year community order with a mental health treatment requirement after Lincoln Crown Court heard he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the offences.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months.

Judge Michael Heath said it was “a wholly exceptional case”.