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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow burglars raided elderly woman’s house during anniversary party

TWO bogus window cleaners who burgled an elderly woman’s home as she celebrated her silver wedding with family downstairs have been locked up for more than four years.

Barrow Crown Court heard yesterday how the unscrupulous duo earlier enjoyed a cup of tea and a slice of her celebratory cake before ransacking her bedroom.

Judge Paul Batty described Paul Bloomfield, 38, and Benjamin Joseph Heavyside, 23, both of Lesh Lane, Barrow, as “heartless” and said they had deliberately targeted the victim because of her trusting nature.

Bloomfield had pleaded guilty one count of burglary on March 4 in Bridgegate Avenue, Barrow, and his accomplice was found guilty after a trial this week by a majority verdict of 10 to two yesterday.

While Heavyside had stayed downstairs laughing and joking with the family at the anniversary gathering Bloomfield had been upstairs looking for things to steal. They took expensive watches, an iPod, a £300 camera, jewellery, tablets and birthday cash from the victim’s infirm mother which said on the envelope “To the Birthday Girl”.

Bloomfield’s defence barrister Miss Raquel Simpson said her client was a kleptomaniac and had simply seen this as an opportunist theft.

She said: “He is very sorry for what he did. He is very remorseful for what he has done.”

Heavyside’s lawyer Mr David Traynor explained how he had had a very difficult upbringing that had had a serious affect on his life.

Sentencing them both to four-and-a-half years behind bars Judge Batty said: “This was an utterly heartless crime. This lady in her 60s was celebrating her silver wedding. This burglary has profoundly affected her and the affects of this callous crime are far reaching. The elderly and vulnerable deserve protecting.

“Your victim was targeted and you saw her as an easy target. You used her kindness against her.

“That day she made you a cup of tea and gave you wedding cake and you repay her by plundering her bedroom while she was downstairs with her family.

“You had your props with you, your ladders, buckets and towels to clean windows but that was not your intention at all. Your intention was to steal what you could.

“No doubt what you stole was given to your local drug dealers to pay for the debts you owed.

“This burglary will have very long reaching affects on the victim and her family.”

The judge added that he was awarding neighbour Elizabeth Logan £250 from public funds for being so public spirited.

She called the police the day before the burglary and told police that the men were looking through windows in an area predominantly lived in by the elderly.

Her tip-off lead to the subsequent arrest of Heavyside and Bloomfield.

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