A burglar who stole four shotguns from a home safe has been jailed for three years.
Three of the guns have never been recovered and could be circulating among criminals, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Felix Wall, aged 30, raided a house in the Athersley area of Barnsley where three legally-held 12 bore shotguns and a .410 shotgun were kept in a safe.
When the owner returned from a shopping trip she found a kitchen window had been damaged and the house burgled.
She checked the gun safe upstairs which had been forced open and the four guns stolen. One of them was found in the back garden.
Two sets of shotgun cartridges, gun certificates and four gold chains from a second safe were also stolen in the £5,000 haul, said Ben Campbell, prosecuting.
After the police were called, the defendant’s blood was found on some clothing in a carrier bag on the landing.
Wall was arrested but he said he could not remember the break-in as he was taking medication at the time for his epilepsy.
The only explanation he could offer was that he had cut his finger at a party and some of his blood had passed to a third party who carried out the burglary.
The court heard that Wall was on licence at the time having been given a five-year jail term for burglary reduced to four on appeal at the same court on March 4, 2011.
The victim said the break-in was still ‘intruding’ on her life.
“I don’t feel absolutely safe. That safety has been taken from me along with my sentimental things,” she said in a statement read in court.
Michael Caine-Soothill, for Wall, said he had tried to help the police locate the missing firearms and had twice been assaulted in prison by inmates over false rumours linked to the crime.
He had been experiencing severe epilepsy since he was a child and had frequent seizures. He also has a 12-year-old son whom he tries to support.
Wall, whose last address was a night shelter in Nottingham, admitted burglary on November 14, last year.
Judge Julian Goose told Wall: “Three guns have never been recovered despite your efforts in assisting the police to recover those guns.
“It is a particularly aggravating feature that you took firearms. Those who steal firearms in burglaries and then put them into unlawful possession should expect higher sentences because of the risk to the public by the circulation of such firearms.”