Burglary is often said to be one of the most impactful crimes out there.

Victims talk of feeling violated. Someone has been inside their home and snatched their hard-earned belongings.

The courts typically take a dim view of burglars - as these sentences make clear.

'Uncle Johnnie's' Tramadol hunt woke family

A burglar from Wootton Bassett left his nine-year-old “nephew” so terrified the boy pulls up the stepladder to his bed before going to sleep at night.

John Lynch broke into the Calne family home of his dad’s ex-partner’s son in search of painkiller Tramadol. The 39-year-old, who woke the homeowners as he snaked across the floor of their bedroom, fled the home empty handed except for £4 taken from a purse.

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John Lynch Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Career criminal Lynch, of Lime Kiln, Royal Wootton Bassett, admitted burglary and was sentenced at Swindon Crown Court to two years and four months imprisonment.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, the male homeowner said he now slept with a baseball bat by the bed to protect his family. “I am always listening for every little noise and even hearing a car door slamming is enough to make me jump,” he said.

He was jailed for 28 months.

READ MORE: Child left terrified after ‘Uncle Johnnie’ breaks into family home

Mum's last gift stolen

Scott Grant was in the throes of an addiction to heroin and out of prison on licence when he committed his latest two burglaries.

Both victims lived in Trowbridge and their homes were broken into in broad daylight. In the first raid, on July 21, Grant made off with a signet ring and jewellery box. The second, on August 5, saw him flee with cash, foreign currency and an unidentified item described in a personal statement by the victim as the last gift his mother gave him before she died.

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Scott Grant Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

That victim said in a statement read to the court by prosecutor Colin Meeke: “I don’t feel that my remaining valuables are secure in my home as my personal space has been violated.”

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court last month, Grant, 28, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary.

He was jailed for three years and eight months.

READ MORE: Career burglar 'feels terrible' over latest Wiltshire house break-ins

Burglar who inked vile word over victim's wall is spared

A man who was given a chance after he burgled 10 houses – including his grandparents' – was again spared jail.

George Mullard was put on a suspended sentence after a judge told him 'you have just about satisfied my expectations' on a rehabilitation course.

But after being given the opportunity the 22-year-old repeatedly failed to turn up for unpaid work and other appointments with the probation service.

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George Mullard Picture: WILTSHIRE POLICE

Mullard went on a stealing spree in Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon's Old Town last year, plundering jewellery with priceless sentimental value. In one raid he used a Sharpie pen to scrawl a vile word on the living room wall of the burgled house.

Appearing before the court in July, Mullard was told by Judge Jason Taylor QC it would be unjust to activate the sentence and added a further 40 hours of unpaid work to the order.

READ MORE: Burglar who raided 10 houses in Swindon is spared prison despite skipping unpaid work

'I'm not harming anyone,' shouts shameless birthday boy

Prolific burglar Daniel Melhado shouted “I am not harming anyone” as he was jailed for his latest break-in.

But Judge Robert Pawson told the Swindon man – who happened to have turned 35 on the day he appeared in the dock: “You are.”

Melhado, who has 103 previous convictions, was jailed for two years and seven months.

Judge Pawson said: “If you go in to other people’s property and take the bank cards and mobile phone you cause them not only gross inconvenience you are stealing money: it is not free money.

“When you steal a bike from a 14-year-old boy. A bicycle worth £300 or £400 to an adult would be a minor inconvenience or irritation.

“To a boy of 14 it is probably their most significant possession. It causes real inconvenience.

“You say why do you keep going in to prison, what good does it do, talk about a revolving door.

“You have 44 convictions for 103 offences, now about 110. Since 1998: robbery, offences on bail. You have received drug treatment, probation orders, you have been to custody. Having been to custody you have reoffended.

“You ask what is the point in sending me to prison: the point is A, people have to be punished for breaking the law. Whether you agree, that is what society says. And B, the public needs protecting from you.”

READ MORE: Swindon burglar with 103 previous convictions is jailed on his 35th birthday

Police tips to keep yourself safe from burglars

  • Lock doors and windows every time you leave the house and make sure you have approved locks or bolts to all doors and windows.
  • Never leave a spare key in a hiding place like in a plant pot or letter box - a thief knows all the hiding places
  • Register all serial numbers from electrical items, tools and garden equipment with Immobilise.com
  • Mark items without serial numbers with an artificial DNA property marker such as Smartwater or SelectaDNA.
  • Use a timer to set lights to mimic your usual activity when they are not at home.
  • Do not open the door to anyone you don't know or are not expecting. Always check by using a spy-hole or look through a window. Don't trust an ID card.
  • Trim back any plants and hedges at the front of the property to no higher than one meter to remove hiding places.
  • Always report any suspicious activity, note any vehicle registrations, descriptions of persons involved and direction of travel.
  • Consider installing a monitored burglar alarm.
  • Take photographs of all jewellery including hallmarks and keep them safe. Make sure that contents insurance is up-to-date.
  • Keep all keys, purses and wallets out of sight and away from the letterbox.