Burglar who targeted elderly woman jailed for three years

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A burglar who ransacked and trashed an elderly woman’s home has been jailed for three years.

Joe Dennis Lancaster, 47, of Stephenson Street, Chorley, who has a long criminal record, left the 75-year-old’s house with items thrown around and drawers and cupboards left open.

I’ve no doubt returning to her home to find her house in this state is probably one of most appalling exercises she’s ever had to endure.

Judge Mark Brown said: “I have no doubt the burglary was extremely distressing for her.

“The Court of Appeal has said burglary is not just an offence against property, it is also an offence against the person.

“Items were strewn about the floor and its obvious you were after one thing alone, and that is money.”

“You can properly be described as a serial burglar.”

Prosecuting, Jeremy GroutSmith said the pensioner, from Chorley, had been away at the time with friends. He added: “She had left her house locked and secured and a friend of hers was going to do regular checks downstairs.

“She returned on Friday September 25 to find the house had been unlocked, the lounge door was open. The house had been ransacked, with things were thrown around and screwed up. All the cupboards downstairs were open with items taken out. The rear bathroom window was smashed and items including a TV, tablet, computer, and jewellery were stolen.”

Preston Crown Court heard he also burgled a Chinese takeaway next door to the victim’s home on Preston Road, which was unoccupied at the time. The pensioner had seen a gate between her home and the former Shanghai restaurant had been forced open.

Police arrested Lancaster near a petrol station with a holdall of copper piping.

The restaurant property owners found the boiler had been removed and copper piping torn from the walls, causing £6,000 damage.

The judge was shown pictures of her ransacked home, and said: “It’s disgraceful.”

Lancaster, a grandad and father-of-four, admitted two counts of burglary. Defending, Sarah Magill said: “The victim’s age is not one he could ever have known.”

But the judge said: “The danger of committing crime you take your victim as you find them. I’ve no doubt returning to her home to find her house in this state is probably one of most appalling exercises she’s ever had to endure.