A PROLIFIC burglar who broke into the house of an 87-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer has walked free from court.

Russell Bastow, who has been sentenced for burglary four times before, was given a ‘last chance’ by a judge.

Nicola Jennings, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court the 29-year-old burgled the elderly victim, who lives in Chiseldon, while she was out at lunch with her son on April 6 last year.

When they returned just after 7pm she and her son found the property had been broken into and drawers in the bedroom turned out on to the floor.

The police were called and a blood stained tissue was found which was found to have Bastow’s DNA on it.

Bastow, of Conan Doyle Walk, Liden, admitted the burglary in which he stole bank cards, jewellery and a purse.

Marcus Davey, defending, said his client had an appalling record which was down to his heroin addiction.

However, since the latest break-in, which took place when he was homeless and using drugs, he said Bastow had sought help for his problems.

He said he now had somewhere to live, was working and in a stable relationship and the pre-sentence report talked of him ‘doing very well’.

Passing sentence, Judge Douglas Field said: “Heroin is the cause of this appalling record and judges on occasion are given the opportunity through the various Acts of Parliament that have been passed over the years to say if this vicious cycle can be broken then a final chance can be given.

“I have thought long and hard about this. Foremost in my mind was this elderly lady returning to her house and finding her belongings in disarray. The impact of that can’t be underestimated.”

The judge imposed a 12-month jail term suspended for 18 months during which time Bastow will be supervised by the probation service.

He also ordered he complete a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and an addressing substance related offending course.