Burglar jailed for stealing more than £10,000 worth of precious jewellery from a 70-year-old Scarborough woman

The judge said that Burns had a great number of burglaries going back to 1996
The judge said that Burns had a great number of burglaries going back to 1996

A prolific burglar who preyed on lonely elderly women has been jailed for over three years after stealing more than £10,000 worth of precious jewellery from a heartbroken 70-year-old woman.

Jamie Burns, 42, broke into the victim’s home in Scarborough, stealing cash and “at least” seven necklaces, six gold bracelets and 12 rings worth £1,900.

York Crown Court heard that one of the rings alone was worth £950.

“She said she was left feeling very unsafe and vulnerable in her flat and felt sick,” said prosecutor Rob Galley.

Burns used a crowbar to force open the door to the woman’s flat in the centre of Scarborough while she was out, before rifling through the jewellery box in her bedroom, on July 10 last year.

When she returned, the door to her flat had been severely damaged and drawers, CD racks and money bags had been ransacked.

“The wardrobe doors in her main bedroom had been opened and her jewellery box had been thrown across the room,” added Mr Galley.

Police soon homed in on Burns, who has a prolific track record for burglary and specialises in targeting the elderly and vulnerable.

Two weeks after the burglary, officers turned up at his mother’s address and spotted Burns climbing over a fence. He was detained at a children’s play area nearby.

Police also went to the house of a female friend of Burns and found a Canada Goose designer jacket he had been wearing at the time of the burglary, inside which were some of the stolen jewellery.

Mr Galley said Burns had “gifted” one of these items, thought to be a bracelet, to his female friend.

Burns had been told by a friend that the pensioner was ripe for the picking and had expensive jewellery in her flat.

Burns, from Scarborough, was arrested and charged with burglary, but initially denied the offence, claiming he had been in Newcastle at the time of the raid.

But police forensic teams found his DNA on the crowbar and his previous convictions did him no favours.

Burns - whose last registered home was his bail address in Ponteland, near Newcastle – had 25 previous convictions for 42 offences, including eight burglaries and attempted house break-ins.

The prosecution said his specialism was “targeting elderly people’s flats for the purposes of burglary”.

Ian Hudson, for Burns, conceded that the father-of-two had an “appalling” criminal record but urged the judge to give him credit for his belated guilty plea and the fact that he had not burgled since his last “spree” eight years ago.

Mr Hudson said Burns was addicted to heroin at the time and stole to pay off drug debts.

Jailing Burns for three years and four months, judge Simon Hickey said the elderly victim had been left feeling “scared and frightened, and very insecure”.

The judge said also cited Burns’s “great number of burglaries going back to 1996”, adding: “These are serious offences of targeting lone females.”