Prolific burglar jailed for five years

Robert Oakley
Robert Oakley

A career burglar who spent a summer raiding family homes in Scarborough has been jailed for more than five years after a judge told him his callous crimes were “about as mean as it gets”.

Robert Oakley, 36, stole thousands of pounds’ worth of goods, including treasured family heirlooms and a wedding ring, to feed his rampant heroin addiction.

In one raid, Oakley crept into a child’s bedroom and stole items while the youngster slept.

In another, he stole birthday cards and presents, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Angus Macdonald said Oakley’s wicked crimes had had a devastating effect on his many victims, some of whom were thinking of leaving the area because their lives had been shattered.

The heavily-convicted house raider, who has many burglary convictions for burglary dating back more than 20 years, was on bail at the time his latest spree after being arrested for drug-supply offences in which he provided dealer pals with heroin and crack cocaine.

He appeared at York Crown Court for sentence on Wednesday after admitting two counts of burglary, two of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and one count of possessing a Class C drug.

Five other burglary charges were taken into consideration by the court but were not part of the indictable offences.

These included raids on homes in Victoria Street, Castle Road and Sandringham Street in which Oakley is said to have stolen mobile phones, laptops, a mountain bike, watches, DVDs, rings, an iPhone, PlayStation, bank card and other items worth £1,225.

Mr Macdonald said Oakley was initially arrested on March 19 last year after police swooped on his flat in Kealia Court, Scarborough, and found 690mg of heroin and two illegal prescription tablets.

Oakley, latterly of North Marine Road, embarked on his burglary spree in June last year, when he raided a couple’s home in Sandringham Street after sneaking in through an unlocked door. He stole a wallet, PlayStation, rucksack, a driving licence, cash and a wedding ring and necklace, worth a total of £1,000.

On July 14, he launched a daytime raid on a family home in Clifton Street after breaking in through a window. He stole a semi-automatic rifle, a knife, bracelet, laptop, two watches and £100 in cash. The haul was worth £1,225.

Officers found the items after searching Oakley’s flat, but the woman’s wedding ring and other jewellery had never been recovered, said Mr Macdonald.

The female victim, who had been plunged into depression following the burglary, said the jewellery had been bequeathed to her by her mother.

“Her relationship has suffered and occasionally she has to sleep on the sofa, and the family don’t feel safe in their own home,” added Mr Macdonald.

The couple in Clifton Street had since suffered from sleeping problems and their children had also been affected, said the prosecutor.

A woman whose home was raided in Trafalgar Terrace said her family were asleep at the time and items had been taken from her child’s bedroom where he was sleeping. The family were now considering moving home.

Yet another couple whose home had been raided said they were now “consistently on edge” after birthday cards and presents had gone missing.

Defence barrister Andrew Semple said Oakley had had a difficult background, adding: “This man has led a life certainly blighted by drug use.”

Oakley had been remanded in custody since his arrest last year and was on a methadone programme to try to wean him off heroin, but he still “struggled with a dreadful addiction”, added Mr Semple.

Judge Paul Batty QC described Oakley’s criminal record as “appalling and depressing” and branded him a “career burglar”.

He said Oakley had caused “untold misery” to his victims after creeping into their homes in the dead of night.

Each of the householders has been profoundly affected by your criminality,” added Mr Batty. “In my judgement, this (offending) is about as mean as it gets.”

Oakley was jailed for five years and four months.