Crack addict burglar sent to jail

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A burglar who was high on crack ransacked a new home before its first owners had moved in.

John Hems, 27, appeared before magistrates after being found guilty of burgling the house in Copenhagen Road on Corby’s Danesholme estate. He did not turn up for his trial in March but was found guilty and appeared in court last week for sentencing.

Prosecuting, Stella Moses said: “The property is a four-bedroom new build. It was fully fitted, complete, in clean order and ready for occupation.

“The site manager went to the house on November 2 and found water running out of the front door and the gas leaking.

“The property had a number of appliances ripped out of the kitchen. The sink was gone, as was the gas combi boiler.

“The piping was all ripped out and the units and skirting was ripped off. Lighting had also been removed, as had the plinths.”

The value of the missing items was £2,427. Hems’s fingerprints were discovered at the scene. He was traced to his home in Cottesmore Road, Uppingham, and arrested. He has since moved to Corby to live with his pregnant girlfriend, who was in court to see him sentenced. The probation service said the former Kwik Fit worker told them he wanted to find a quiet place to smoke crack. Once inside the house, he decided to steal the entire kitchen.

He denied going there intending to burgle the house and claimed he ripped out the kitchen with his bare hands and carried the items away. He denied significant damage was done and claimed the victims exaggerated the offence to inflate a compensation claim.

Mitigating, solicitor Gill Walker said Hems had recently secured a new job and he did not remember the offence as he was high on drugs at the time.

Magistrates sentenced him to six months in jail with a further four week sentence for failing to surrender to police bail.