Swindon AdvertiserSwindon drug addict raids home of ex-girlfriend’s family who had helped him battle problems (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Swindon drug addict raids home of ex-girlfriend’s family who had helped him battle problems

Swindon Advertiser: Damien Lynch targeted his daughter's grandparents Damien Lynch targeted his daughter's grandparents

DRUG addict Damien Lynch who had been helped over the years by his former girlfriend’s parents burgled their home while they were on holiday.

Lynch, 31, whose victims are his daughter’s grandparents, used his inside knowledge to switch off the house alarm and empty their safe.

He took things which he knew were of no value because it would upset the his ex-girlfiend’s mother, Swindon Crown Court was told.

He also knew the PIN for the bank card from meals out and holidays, allowing him to withdraw £250 from her savings account.

But his victim noticed the money had gone missing when she did her online banking from Ireland, and raised the alarm.

She called the police and her sister – who lives nearby and was looking after the property – when she noticed the money had gone in August.

The house had been burgled and, although neighbours said they had heard the alarm, it had stopped seconds later so they assumed it was not a break-in.

A Peugeot 107, worth about £3,000, which was parked on the drive had been taken and inside the house a 55 inch TV, two laptops and bottles of alcohol had gone.

Upstairs the safe attached to the wall of the couple’s bedroom had been opened and jewellery, some of significant value and some sentimental, was gone.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, said he also took family trinkets such as communion medals and school prefect badges which he knew were of no value.

His victim told the police “They were taken to hurt me,” – saying she had reported him to the police for taking the car from them in the past.

The court heard that her son lost two years of university work when his laptop was taken by Lynch.

The grandmother told the police how the family had over time spent thousands of pounds on him and given him hours of their time as they tried to help him and his addiction.

“We were a soft touch as he had lived in our house as part of out family,” she said in a victim impact statement.

She added that it would have been easy for him to guess her combination for the safe and had been out for meals with them when she had paid with her bank card.

Miss Hingston said he was helped in the raid by Daniel Dent, whose fingerprint was found inside the property.

Lynch, of Culvery Court, Harding Street, and Dent, of Oakham Close, Toothill, both admitted burglary and Lynch also admitted fraud.

The court heard both men had long lists of previous convictions. Dent was on early release from prison at the time of the offence.

Martin Wiggins, for Lynch, said he was deeply remorseful for what he had done, but claimed it was an opportunist offence and not a planned break-in.

He said the men had been drinking and were in the area to buy drugs when he realised the house was empty.

Lynch, who suffered drug induced psychosis, had been a key witness in a murder trial last year which had taken its toll on him, he said.

Mike Pulsford, for Dent, said his client had not realised they were carrying out a break-in until the last minute, but accepts he then went along with it.

Judge Tim Mousley QC jailed Lynch for three and a half years and Dent, for two years and three months.

He said: “You knew it was you knew it was your child's grandparent’s home.

“You forced the door, you disarmed the alarm as you knew how to, and you stole property from it.

“At least it was unoccupied, that is all that can be said, but you knew that.

“They had helped you in the past. That makes this offence particularly mean."

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