A prolific burglar jumped out of a bedroom window empty-handed after being caught by a Sheffield pensioner rifling through her possessions.
Dad-of-two Scott Bennett has been jailed for four years for his latest series of house raids across Sheffield, which saw him break into the homes of two OAPs and a doctor.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Bennett, who is now 37 and of Gell Street, Broomhall, has a history of committing burglaries dating back to when he was just 14.
On October 26 this year at 3.25pm, Bennett broke into the home of a doctor on Hill Street, Highfield while the owner was at home.
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said she out to the car and left the front door of her house open before going back inside to the kitchen.
He said: “She turned to put something in the fridge, looked through the doorway and saw a male figure making his way the door. He was wearing a dark jacket and the hood was up.”
She phoned the police - while Bennett went straight into the house of her 79-year-old neighbour.
Mr Coxon said the pensioner ‘heard noises coming from the bedroom, walked in and saw a male in there facing the window.
“Items including a Harrods’ bag were on the bed. She shouted, he jumped out of the window. Nothing was stolen.”
Police stopped Bennett later that day on nearby Woodhead Road but as he had no stolen goods on him, they allowed him to go.
A later forensic examination of the pensioner’s property showed fingerprints matching Bennett’s.
Three days later, Bennett carried out another burglary on Saint Elizabeth Close.
On this occasion, he broke into the home of a 71-year-old woman and stole items from her son’s room including a mobile phone, bank cards and money, as well as taking her jewellery.
Statements from the victims were read in court.
The 79-year-old said: “The whole incident has made me feel unsafe in my own home.
“No one has the right to come into my property in this way.”
The 71-year-old said: “It is the thought that someone has been in my house more than what was taken. I have lived here 20 years and never had any problems before.”
Andrew Swaby, defending, said Bennett ‘had a very difficult upbringing’ and developed a drug problem.
He said he had managed to stay out of trouble for the past decade after getting into a stable relationship and having two children,
But Mr Swaby said that after the relationship ended in June last year, Bennett had become homeless, ‘living on the streets and staying with friends where possible’.
“He did eventually manage to secure some accommodation but unfortunately by then his substance misuse was out of control,” he said.
“These offences are a direct result of his drug addiction.
“He is thoroughly ashamed of himself. He has let himself and his family down and is now determined to remain drug-free.”
Judge Michael Slater said Bennett has been jailed four times before, with the last occasion being in 2006.
“You then seemed to have scaled down your offending somewhat but in October 2016, you returned to your former burgling ways,” he said.
“I accept you have had a troubled background and give you full credit for your guilty pleas.
“But the breakdown of your relationship doesn’t give you entitlement to go out and burgle in this way as I’m sure you understand.
“The courts are looking not at what they can do to rehabilitate you but looking at ways to keep you off the streets for as long as proportionally justifiable for the offences you have committed.
“That is the stage you have reached here.”