Accrington burglar raided houses with pet Staffordshire bull terrier



First published in North West

A PROLIFIC house burglar who struck three times with his pet dog in less than 48 hours has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Martin Riley, 36, took his Staffordshire bull terrier with him on the raids in the Accrington area as an excuse, so if he was caught, he could claim ‘I was looking for my dog’.

Burnley Crown Court heard he struck in the daytime after 16 months out of trouble, when he was said to have been turning over a new leaf, and had been doing voluntary work for a church and the RSPCA.

The former heroin addict has already served sentences of five years, 40 months, and three years.

Riley, of Oakenhurst Avenue, Huncoat, admitted three burglaries on May 18.

The value of the raids totalled more than £7,000.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Riley smashed his way into a pensioner’s home, in Burnley Road, Accrington, while the victim was living in a care home, and stole personal documents.

He then helped himself to a haul of electrical goods, jewellery, and computer equipment, from a property in Bluebell Close. The victim felt vulnerable after her ordeal.

Miss Statham said Riley then broke into a house in Newton Drive, and took laptops, a mobile phone and electrical equipment.

Riley, who was living near the addresses, was arrested.

He denied burglary, and claimed the stolen property found at his home had been bought in a local pub.

Simon Gurney, for Riley, said all the burglaries were during the daytime, at unoccupied properties.

His life had been blighted by his heroin addiction, but he had been making progress in the community, had been offence-free, and was making real efforts to turn his life around.

Judge Beverley Lunt told Riley he was a prolific burglar and he was going to get longer and longer sentences .

She said: “It might be a slip for you but, trust me, it’s not a slip for those people whose homes you invaded.”

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