Scarborough burglar locked up for nearly four years after breaking into family home

A notorious Scarborough burglar has been jailed for nearly four years after breaking into a family home and stealing bank cards.
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Carrie Dowson, 41, who is also a serial shoplifter and has more than 140 offences on her record, raided the property in Northstead when the family members, including children, were in bed, York Crown Court heard.

She then used the stolen bank cards to buy alcohol and cigarettes at the nearby One Stop Shop, said prosecutor Vincent Blake-Barnard.

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She appeared for sentence on January 17 after pleading guilty to the burglary and two shoplifting offences, along with fraudulent use of the stolen bank cards.

Carrie Dowson.Carrie Dowson.
Carrie Dowson.

Dowson’s crime spree began on September 23 last year when she walked into Boots the chemist in Scarborough “wearing pink-and-white shorts” and swore at a staff member who had offered to help her.

Dowson, who was drunk and staggering, then started shouting and swearing at the duty manager and tried to steal “multiple” items from the shelves.

When staff took them to the till, she began screaming and shouting abuse as the manager followed her around the shop.

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Police were called out and arrested Dowson who was abusive and aggressive with officers.

She was taken into the police van where she was searched and found with £214 of stolen items, mainly cosmetics and perfumes.

The burglary occurred at about 9.45pm on December 15, when Dowson broke into the house through the front door.

She left the property about five minutes later with two bank cards and £40 cash.

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Mr Blake-Barnard said she went straight to One Stop Shop where she bought more than £48 of alcohol and cigarettes, a gift set and over £54 of groceries with the stolen bank cards.

About an hour before the burglary, Dowson was in Sainsbury’s supermarket on Falsgrave Road where she took a trolley-full of items out of the store without paying, but she had been spotted and police were waiting outside to arrest her and seize the £309 of stolen items.

She was said to be “heavily intoxicated” at the time.

The subsequent burglary and fraud were captured on CCTV and Dowson was questioned by police the following day when a search of her person revealed a quantity of Class C drugs including non-prescribed Valium.

She was charged with burglary, two counts of shoplifting, possessing Class C drugs.

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Dowson’s long criminal record comprised 64 previous convictions for 142 offences including “numerous” thefts and acquisitive crimes.

The burglary in Northstead was her fifth such offence which also included raids on commercial or licensed premises in Scarborough.

Defence barrister Jordan Millican said Dowson had an “unenviable (record) and that’s putting it mildly”.

“She has been in and out of prison for coming up five years,” he added.

“It has clearly not had the desired effect.”

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He added: “She is on a destructive path, a vicious cycle that…she is unable to break free from.”

He said that Dowson, who was in a new, stable relationship, was a “serial shoplifter funding an alcohol and drug addiction”.

He said that in other ways Dowson was a “liked and likeable” woman who had gained qualifications in hairdressing and cookery while in jail and was a regular attendee at the prison chapel.

Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, told Dowson: “You have been in and out of the courts for years now and all sorts of things have been tried with you, from fines to community orders and short periods of imprisonment.

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“None of it’s worked, and it will never work until you decide to change and unless you decide to change you are going to be in this court or another as an old woman, riddled with (drink and drug problems), going back to prison and probably alone.

“Quite frankly, the public and businesses are getting heartily sick of professional shoplifters.”

Mr Morris said the burglary was aggravated by the fact that there were children in the house.

He told Dowson: “It’s time to give you a reasonable stretch (behind bars) in order for you to prove to yourself that you can change because if you don’t, you’ll end up dead in the gutter, if you are not ping-ponging (back and forth from prison).”

Dowson, from Northstead, was jailed for three years and nine months but will only serve half of that sentence behind bars before being released