‘Career burglar’ sent back to prison for raiding couple’s South Yorkshire home

A ‘career burglar’ has been sent back to prison for over four years, after he broke into a South Yorkshire property while the occupants were home.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 4:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 11:05 am

As she sentenced Shaun Battye-Russell to 38 months in prison, Judge Rachael Harrison told him he ‘probably had the worst record I’ve ever seen for offences of burglary’.

Battye-Russell had just been released from his most recent stint in prison for burglary when he broke into a home in Doncaster Road, Rotherham on April 3 this year.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Battye-Russell, of no fixed abode, let himself into the property around a minute after its occupants returned home at 8pm.

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“The defendant walked up to the back door, knocked on it, and after a short wait, let himself in. He was in the property for around six minutes, before emerging, carrying a stolen laptop,” Robert Sandford, prosecuting, told the court.

Mr Sandford said he was able to be so precise about Battye-Russell’s movements because the couple who live in the property captured him breaking in and leaving on their home closed-circuit television CCTV system.

“It wasn’t until a few days later that they noticed the laptop had gone missing. They checked their CCTV and reported the matter to police,” added Mr Sandford.

Battye-Russell was subsequently arrested at Cash Converters on April 8, and answered ‘no comment’ to all questions in police interview.

The laptop and power cable stolen by Battye-Russell were valued at £499.

One of the property’s occupiers described the impact being burgled continues to have on her, in a victim personal statement read to the court.

“This incident has made me feel anxious and paranoid. I have caught myself constantly watching the CCTV...and I no longer like being in the house on my own,” she said.

Battye-Russell pleaded guilty to a single charge of dwelling-house burglary at an earlier hearing.

The court was told how Battye-Russell has been sent to prison for burglary numerous times, and was convicted of his first offence of burglary when he was just 13-years-old.

Dermot Hughes, defending, told the court that when Battye-Russell was sent to prison last time, the judge said it was imperative he was found housing before being released so he had a chance of breaking the criminal cycle he was in.

Despite this, Battye-Russell was released from prison with nowhere to live, and nothing but the £46 he was awarded from a discharge grant to live on.

“You might fall into the trap of thinking this is a man who likes stealing people’s property and invading their privacy, but that is not the case. He has expressed regret and shame...he wants to mend his ways, but he undoubtedly needs some help.”

As she sent him to prison, Judge Harrison said she reiterated the previous judge’s request for Battye-Russell not to be released from prison ‘simply to be made homeless’.

“If you are going to ever be a law-abiding citizen you need to get that assistance. But it’s your choice. You are a career burglar,” she added.

- South Yorkshire Police have been asked to provide a custody image of Battye-Russell