A DRUG addict who stole the head and feet of a bear costume belonging to a community worker has been jailed for three years.

Bungling Jason Mullineux targeted the house of Alan Taylor on Station Road, Bolton, in October last year with Bolton Crown Court hearing how the heroin user cut himself while gaining entry.

Duncan Wilcox, prosecuting, said Mr Taylor, who was involved with a Halloween community project on his housing estate, came home early on October 30, 2019.

Arriving home around lunchtime he found his bear costume discarded on the living room floor and continuing through the house he found most cupboards and doors were open and a glass panel on his back door was smashed.

Mr Taylor described his house as having been “ransacked” with drawers tipped out and both bedrooms left in a mess.

As well as the bear costume, Mullineux stole 14 items in all including three laptops, three mobile phones, tools and jewellery with an estimated cost of £3,000.

In a victim impact statement read to the court by Mr Wilcox, Mr Taylor said he prided himself on feeling calm but this offence had made him angry and put his work in the community in jeopardy as he had important documents and photographs saved on his laptop.

Mullineaux, of Fearnhead Close, Farnworth, was arrested after blood was left at the scene and his DNA was matched with a sample taken.

He was in breach of a eight month suspended sentence imposed in August 2018.

Mr Wilcox added that Mullineux had 26 previous convictions for 50 previous offences including five for burglary.

Nick Ross, defending, said his client had been addicted to drugs for around 25 years but had been working for Network Rail shortly before the offence.

He had lost that job and a week before the burglary had lapsed into using heroin again.

“He was desperate,” said Mr Ross. “He felt guilty straight away after he had committed the offence and this was an offence with a remarkable lack of sophistication and one for which he wishes to express his apologies.”

Sentencing Mullineux Judge Paul Lawton, said: “You have spent decades breaking into people’s houses and old habits die hard in your case.

“The desperation which drove you to break in was self-evident by the way there was no forensic finesse at all - you simply smashed your way in, injuring yourself in the process and leaving the clearest possible trace by way of your own blood.

“This burglary had a very profound affect on the homeowner because they now feel unsafe and ill at ease in their own property.

“It is a terrible legacy to impose on people and one which can last an entire lifetime.”