A persistent burglar who ransacked a woman’s home to steal almost £7,000 of property was hoping to avoid a prison sentence to attend the Isle of Man TT Races next month, his lawyer told Bradford Crown Court.
But Barry Slaven, who appeared before the court yesterday on a video link from Leeds Prison, was instead locked up for 876 days as a “three strikes” house-breaker.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told him: “Can you imagine, Mr Slaven, were I to let you loose, what the Press and the householder would think of me?”
Slaven, 32, of Mint Street, Undercliffe, Bradford, pleaded guilty to burgling a house in Thornfield Place, Eccleshill, overnight between March 1 and 2, while the occupier was away.
His £6,970 haul included television sets, laptop computers, phones, jewellery and passports.
Slaven, who got a kitchen knife from a drawer while in the house, left bloodstains on cupboards after smashing his way in through a door and breaking two windows.
Police later found him hiding inside a wardrobe at his girlfriend’s house. Stolen property and a burglar’s toolkit were found at his address.
Robert Galley, for the Crown, said Slaven had committed 68 previous offences, including two house burglaries.
Slaven’s barrister, Mohammed Hussain, said he was from a very good family but had been a drug addict for many years.
He had been in custody since his first appearance at the magistrates’ court.
Mr Hussain said Slaven had not instructed him to apply for bail as he believed he would benefit from enforced abstinence from drugs while behind bars.
Slaven’s mother was a school teacher and he was the father of two children, the court was told.
He was a volunteer drug worker and had a part-time job and a place at university.
Mr Hussain said Slaven’s family were so encouraged by his recent progress they had booked him a holiday to watch the TT Races.
Judge Durham Hall told Slaven: “You are a living example of the devastating effects that drugs can have on a human being.” Although he was described as bright and articulate, and someone who could be an asset to society, the justice of the case could be met only with an immediate prison sentence, said the judge.
Slaven was jailed for three years, minus 20 per cent for his early guilty plea.