Dozy burglar fell asleep in elderly Deane couple's house

The Bolton News: Runnymede Court, Deane, where a burglar fell asleep in an elderly couple's bedroom. Picture from Google Maps. Runnymede Court, Deane, where a burglar fell asleep in an elderly couple's bedroom. Picture from Google Maps.

A BURGLAR was caught napping when he fell asleep in an elderly couple's bedroom halfway through raiding their home.

Derek Hardman walked into the pensioners’ first-floor flat in Runnymede Court, Deane, through an unlocked door on the afternoon of May 5, Bolton Crown Court heard.

While the householders, 77-year-old Betty Spencer and her 71-year-old husband, John, were in the living room Hardman sneaked into their bedroom.

David Clarke, prosecuting, told the court how Hardman searched the room, moving jewellery worth £10,000 and fishing equipment.

At one point he found a pair of tights in a drawer and put them on his hands, then, overcome by tiredness, he sat down on a sofa in the room’s bay window and fell asleep.

Shocked Mrs Spencer walked into the room at 3.30pm to find a slumbering Hardman and fetched her husband, who called on the help of several neighbours.

The neighbours prodded Hardman to wake him up and he tried to flee, biting one of them, retired David Harper, on the leg in the process.

Fortunately the fabric of Mr Harper’s trousers saved him from injury.

Hardman was overpowered by the neighbours and when police arrived to arrest him they found six diazepam tablets in his pocket.


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The 31-year-old, of Langdon Close, Bolton, pleaded guilty to burglary with intent, assault and possessing diazepam.

Mark Friend, defending, said Hardman, who has an extensive criminal record, including convictions for burglary, had no recollection of the incident.

Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Hardman to two years and eight months in jail.

Because he was on licence from a previous prison sentence at the time of the offence and was recalled to jail Hardman is not due to be released until 2017.

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