A reformed drug addict has been jailed for breaking into an elderly couple’s home and stealing hundreds of pounds they had collected for charity.
Dean Hawkins was caught with a laptop stolen from the home of the couple in Ilfracombe when police raided his address after he had been caught selling valium on the street.
They also found money bags identical to those in which the victims had kept £591 in cash which they had collected for a local charity.
Hawkins denied any connection with the raid on their home but his DNA was found on their back door, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Hawkins, aged 32, of Coronation Avenue, Ilfracombe, admitted burglary and possession of Valium with intent to supply and was jailed for a total of 26 months.
Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, told him:”You have pleaded guilty on the basis that you only kept a look out in exchange for £50 but a computer was found in your possession and £59 cash in a plastic bag identical to those stolen from the house.
“The items stolen included a computer, £591 cash, bank cards and a driving licence, which will have caused considerable difficulty and stress, having to replace them, as well as the alarm and distress which frequently occurs when homes are entered and burgled.”
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said Hawkins was seen selling tablets in Market Street, Ilfracombe in March and found with 1,067 when he was searched, despite trying to throw them away as he tried to escape.
He was linked to the burglary at The Shields by the computer found at his home and DNA on the back door but insisted he had only acted as lookout for two others.
Mr Bowen said the two occupants, both in their late 70s, were very distressed by the raid and now felt less secure in their own home.
Mr Gareth Evans, defending, said Hawkins has overcome a heroin addiction and at the time was on the substitute drug Subutex and was working as a volunteer at the Dogs Trust.
He said he had psychological problems and had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and possible schizophrenia but was keen to carry on battling his history of drug problems in the community.
He said:”He has read the victim impact statements and says he feels very ashamed. He knows the couple from seeing them in a shop in the area and says he did not realise it was their house.”
He said he is even more remorseful because the charity money stolen was intended for local groups and he realises he may have been a beneficiary of it.