Two Sheffield heroin addicts, who burgled the home of an 87-year-old man while he was in the bathroom - even stopping so low as to steal his hearing aids, have been jailed.
During a sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court this morning, the court how on October 22 last year, 35-year-old Andrew Cross raided the home that Harry Bennett has lived in for 54 years.
As Harry went to use the bathroom at around 11am that morning Cross, along with Rebecca Kerrigan, aged 28, broke into his house in Crookes.
Prosecuting, Zainab Alam, told the court: "When he came out of the bathroom he realised he had been burgled.
"He went into the bedroom and saw one of his wallets was on the floor. He went downstairs and realised his living room had also been ransacked."
Among the items of Harry's stolen by the pair was a television, bank cards, a driving license, two watches and his two hearing aids - which he had taken out shortly before the burglary took place.
The court heard how Cross and Kerrigan's suspicious behaviour attracted the attention of people passing-by, who called the police in time for officers to be able to begin following the pair shortly after they attempted to flee the scene.
This led to a small pursuit, and to Cross, of Addy Close, Walkley eventually abandoning his vehicle, with a number of Harry's possessions including the television and one of the watches still inside.
The money and hearing aids were not recovered.
In a victim impact statement, heartbroken Harry said: “I have lived in this house for 54 years and I am staggered that someone would come into my house and steal my belongings.
“I’m particularly upset about a Sekonda watch that I was given by my friend Jane. It was the first present she bought me. “This will change the way I live my life, I will have to be more security conscious.”
In January this year, Recorder Fiona Davies sentenced Kerrigan to two years, four months and 26 days for her part in the the burglary as well as eight additional counts of theft.
During Kerrigan's sentencing the court was told how she also suffered from an addiction to heroin.
The court heard how on January 15 this year Cross also raided another property in Crookes, along with Kirk Brunie, 35, of HMP Moorlands.
Cross and Brunie entered the property shortly after one of the occupants went to bed at around 10pm through the back door, which had been left open for another occupant who was due to return later that evening.
The pair stole a number of items from the house including credit cards, which CCTV showed they then used to buy cigarettes at a nearby petrol station at 11.30pm - less than two hours after the property owner had gone to bed.
At a hearing held earlier this year, Cross pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and one count of handling stolen goods in relation to his involvement in the two burglaries, while Brunie, who is currently serving a 30-month prison sentence for his involvement in another burglary, admitted to one count of handling stolen goods.
Cross was also found not guilty of another count of burglary during today's sentencing.
In mitigation, the court was told that Cross had become involved with people who took drugs, and had subsequently become addicted to heroin as a consequence of his association with them.
His Honour Robert Moore sentenced Cross to 40 months in prison, and added an additional six months to Brunie's sentence.