Stratton man burgled his own neighbours

A MAN who burgled two of his neighbours was caught after one of the victims spotted a booklet from his stolen DVD box set in the thief’s flat.

And when Tomas Pike went to a second-hand shop to sell on the Atlantis sci-fi series discs, he took the chance to steal an X-Box game for himself.

The 31-year-old raided the apartments in Frank Warman Court, Ermin Street, in Stratton, as he struggled to raise some cash to pay off an £800 drugs debt.

Simon Goodman, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Jonathan Gales had lived in the block for a couple of years, renting his home from the Salvation Army.

On November 8, he went away to visit family and when he returned the following afternoon he found he had been burgled.

The bottom panel of the uPVC door leading from the kitchen to the garden area had been kicked in.

The raider had taken a TV as well as box sets of Stargate SG1, which had a disc missing, Smallville and Atlantis season four.

When the scenes of crime officers were at his property he went to see Pike, who lived nearby and noticed a booklet from the DVDs on the floor by his sofa.

Mr Goodman told the court Mr Gales commented that he didn’t know he also had it and Pike told him that it was a pamphlet from series three, which he had just bought.

But Mr Gales said he was suspicious that his neighbour had been involved in the break-in.

On the morning of November 12, Mr Goodman said another neighbour returned to find his front door kicked in.

When he went inside he found a laptop, cordless drill, and Nintendo Wii and controllers were missing.

Pike also reported his flat had been broken into, saying he locked the door between his kitchen and living room meaning nothing was taken, raising police suspicions.

Police went to Cash Generators, in Bridge Street, investigating the crimes and found Pike had used his own ID to sell the box sets on the Friday.

And when police looked back at the CCTV of the transaction, they spotted the thief stealing a Special Ops game, worth £20, from the store.

Pike, of Frank Warman Court, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one of theft.

The court heard that he had a history of crime, with a large amount of shoplifting offences.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client had been threatened by men in town over the drug debt and he felt he needed to raise the cash.

He said he was now on a methadone prescription as he battled to get clean of the drugs and he urged the court to impose a suspended sentence.

Mr Ross said he had been out of trouble for five years and said: “What happened back in November is something of a blip.”

Jailing Pike for two years, Judge Euan Ambrose said: “In each of these cases the items stolen were valuable; not just in the context of themselves but to the victims.

“These are flats that are occupied by men of modest means, in one case a man who works in a factory; the other unemployed. In each you caused damage.

“These offences are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”

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