Burglar stole to fund drug habit, court told

A prolific burglar who ransacked homes in Wickhambrook to help fund his drug addiction has been jailed for three years.

Twenty-four-year-old Patrick Burke, was caught when police found forensic evidence linking him to the crimes at the scene of the last of seven break-ins.

Burke, appeared on Thursday at Ipswich Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to seven offences of burglary.

The court heard that at each address Burke had smashed open a door or window to get inside before ransacking rooms in his search for 
items he could easily turn into cash.

Prosecuting, Robert Sadd said the first three offences had involved properties in south Essex before Burke, formerly of Bury St Edmunds, turned his attentions to west Suffolk.

Three properties in 
Wickhambrook were raided with jewellery, computer equipment and cash being stolen.

The burglaries took place at homes in Thorns Close, The Thorns and Boyden Close, Wickhambrook.

Burke also burgled a home in Withersfield Road, Haverhill where cash and jewellery was stolen.

Mr Sadd said the occupier had described in a statement how he felt his belongings had been “tainted” by the burglary and said the crime had been committed by someone who “can’t be bothered go out and earn a living.”

The court heard that Burke had appeared in court in 24 previous occasions in connection with 44 offences and served two terms in custody.

Defending, Christopher Martin said: “Mr Burke recognises that he has an unenviable record of offending.”

Burke’s offending began shortly after he started using cannabis at the aged of 13 and he had quickly moved on to class A drugs.

Mr Martin said: “Since then he has found himself in a vicious cycle of offending to fund his addiction.”

Burke was now “desperate” to end his use of illegal drugs and had participated in drug rehabilitation programmes while in prison awaiting sentencing.

Mr Martin told the court: “He wishes to apologise to the victims of his crimes. He understands the nature of his offending.”

Sentencing him to three years imprisonment, Judge David Goodin told Burke: “The nature of your burglaries was to enter forcibly causing damage, to conduct, I have no doubt swiftly, an untidy search. It would be devastating for the householder when they returned.”