‘Habitual burglar’ Liam Taffinder, aged 37, was released from a four-year prison sentence for burglary on November 9 last year, with a license period set to continue until 2020.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how it only took Taffinder 16 days to revert back to a life of crime, when he broke into a property in Scraith Wood Drive, Shirecliffe on November 24.
Prosecutor, Neil Coxon, described how the owners returned home after 3.45pm to find that a door to the property had been ‘forced with something like a crowbar’.
“He and his wife noticed their drawers and wardrobes were open. He found his Dyson hoover worth £399 had been taken, as had a Samsung tablet worth £100 as well as £400 in cash for his daughter’s wedding,” said Mr Coxon.
The victims described how in addition to losing the cash and having to pay to repair the damage caused by Taffinder, they had also been forced to pay an excess of £100 on their home insurance.
Taffinder, of no fixed abode, struck again on December 18 at a property in Colley Road, Parson Cross, while its occupant, a 70-year-old woman, was upstairs in bed.
Mr Coxon said the woman left the gate to her property open and the back door unlocked when she came home that afternoon.
“At around 8pm she became aware that her handbag had been taken with her bank cards in it.
“She put in place a mechanism to stop her cards from being used, but was informed they had already been used,” added Mr Coxon.
The court heard how Taffinder used the woman’s card three times between 4pm and 7pm that day to purchase goods costing over £55 at the Awan convenience store in Buchanan Road, Parson Cross and at the One Stop Shop in Halifax Road, Parson Cross.
The 70-year-old victim told the court, through a victim personal statement: “This incident has made me more aware of security, but no-one has the right to come into my home uninvited, without my consent, whether my door is unlocked or not.”
The court was told how Taffinder has an extensive criminal record of 46 previous offences, 22 of which are for dwelling-house burglaries.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and two counts of fraud during today’s hearing.
Defending, Zawar Shah, said Taffinder was released from prison with ‘no home, no employment, nowhere to go and nothing to do’.
“Mr Taffinder informs me he has been addicted to heroin and cocaine since the age of 15, and finds himself in an endless cycle from which he cannot escape,” said Mr Shah.
The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, jailed Taffinder for six years, six months.
He said: “You are a habitual burglar; you are a public menace. I accept that you have been caught in the swamp of heroin addiction. You plunged yourself into that swamp voluntarily.”
“I want to make this clear to you: burglary is a very serious crime. It is not simply a crime involving dishonesty, though that is an aspect of it. It is a crime that in a very real sense affects individuals who are lawfully going about their business, and expect their property inside their homes to be safe. It has a very bad impact when they know their home has been invaded by such as you.”