A HEROIN addict broke into a young woman's flat and tied her up before threatening to rape her if she would not give him her bank card pin number, a court has heard.

Serial burglar and robber Gary Spilsbury, a former Farnworth man, gained entry to a 24-year-old woman's upper floor flat on Egremont Court in Salford from a balcony on October 1, 2019.

As he searched her bedroom he realised she had woken in bed and he shone his torch at her, placed his hands on her and demanded cash.

He stood her up, still demanding money to which she said she only had her bank card and he forced her on her front and demanded her pin number.

The defendant gave her a false pin and Spilsbury then tied her hands and feet with phone charger wires, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, James Preece, said: "The defendant stated that ‘this had better be the right pin’ and that he would rape her if it was wrong.

“He then tried to pull her trousers down to emphasise his threat.”

Terrified, she gave him the right pin number.

Mr Preece said Spilsbury promised to untie her if it was the correct pin.

He left with her card, a mobile phone and a laptop, which he exchanged for £100 at a firm in Oldham the next day.

The woman was able to free herself and raise the alarm.

Spilsbury was arrested on October 4, 2019 at The Hazeldean Hostel in Salford where numerous items were recovered.

Giving a victim impact statement in court, the woman said she felt terrified and violated and scared to live in her flat alone.

She said: "I did not know what he was going to do.

“But going off what he said I genuinely thought he was going to rape me and kill me.”

This was only one of a number of shocking crimes that Spilsbury, 48, of no fixed address, committed in the space of two months.

A day earlier at a home on York Avenue in Prestwich, a 77-year-old woman woke to find he had broken into her home and was wearing a balaclava.

He knocked her to the floor and tied her hands behind her back and feet together with shoe laces and phone cord, and threatened the victim to give him her bank pin number.

Spilsbury then asked if she had any other money and the victim told him she had some in a bag which he left with as well as jewellery and a mobile phone.

The victim, who managed to untie herself, recalled her home was left like a “total wreck, it was like a typhoon had hit it", Mr Preece said.

Enquiries found he had entered the home at 3am that morning and stole the woman’s bank card and left to try to withdraw money which led to him returning to demand the victim for her pin number. He took £250 from her account.

In a victim impact statement, the woman said: “Although the incident happened some time ago I am still scared and do not feel safe in my own home.”

Spilsbury, who appeared in court via a video link from prison and often held his head in his hands as if in shame, was not alone in carrying out the crimes though.

His wife Gemma Spilsbury went to pawnbrokers on numerous occasions to cash in on stolen goods to fund their drug addictions.

Text messages exchanged between the pair showed she gave him advice about what items he should steal from homes and told him to hide stolen items to be collected later.

Police found she had also searched on the internet about some of the stolen items.

Gary Spilsbury targeted vulnerable residents at a number of homes during this period, stealing thousands of pounds worth of goods.

He burgled an 88-year-old man at his home on Albert Avenue in Prestwich in the early hours of September 22, 2019.

The burglar stole goods and bank cards as well as his Nissan Micra. Checks found he had used the victim’s cards shortly after the break-in at a Shell garage on Bury New Road in Prestwich.

Two failed attempts had been made to withdraw money at the garage ATM with it likely being that Spilsbury “speculatively” guessing the pin number wrong on both occasions, Mr Preece said.

The Micra was found on Singleton Road, around 300m from the defendant’s address.

Earlier, on August 19, 2019, Spilsbury broke into a sheltered accommodation flat on St Pauls Court in Salford and took items including two laptops and bank cards, which was used later that day to withdraw £700.

On September 10, 2019, he entered two sheltered accommodation homes on Rectory Green in Prestwich.

A car, money from bank accounts and other property was taken from this haul. The car was found dumped nearby.

Later that month, overnight on September 20, 2019, on Mayfield Road in Salford, he stole bank cards and withdrew money and also realised he had taken keys to the Screwfix store on Moorside Road in Swinton, where one of the occupants worked.

He went straight to the store at around 4am on September 21 but the alarm was sounded and he left the scene.

Soon after on September 27, 2019, an occupant at a ground floor flat on Tall Trees in Salford locked her home and returned a week later to discover she had been burgled. A laptop, jewellery and baby items such a Moses basket had been stolen.

On September 24, 2019, Spilsbury broke into a garage on Norwood Avenue in Salford and stole a range of tools.

And in the early hours of September 29, 2019, he turned his attention back to stealing from homes and broke into a property on Neville Road in Salford. A gold watch and a laptop was stolen.

He was caught on CCTV on several occasions drawing money out following break-ins.

The couple were also filmed at shops cashing in on stolen items.

They both denied the catalogue of allegations they were faced with by police before later pleading guilty.

In mitigation, Richard Simons, defending Gary Spilsbury, confirmed he had a long term addiction to heroin.

“It is an addiction that has effectively destroyed his own life, that has also blighted the lives of those close to him and of those whom he had committed offences against.”

Mr Simons added that none of his victims, with offences dating back to 1991, have ever "suffered serious physical harm".

He also denied threatening the 24-year-old woman, Mr Simons said.

Defending Gemma Spilsbury, of Weston Street, Bolton, Rachel White said the couple "were welded together by their addiction which has plagued them both".

"Her drug use, it seems, is underpinned by long-standing difficulty with her mental health" and she has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bypolar disorder, Miss White said.

Although she has a record of previous drug offences, she had never committed a dishonesty offence before, Miss White said, and that she had made "positive steps" since 2019.

Miss White also said Spilsbury, of Weston Street, Bolton, no longer associates with the crowd of friends she used to and moved from the area she lived at the time.

In sentencing Gary Spilsbury, Judge John Potter revealed that he had committed 115 previous offences including robberies against elderly people, burglaries and dealing class A drugs.

Judge Potter brandished him as a "ruthless and determined criminal" intent on "invading people's homes".

He has "no doubt" his victims have suffered psychologically and praised the "courage and bravery" of the 24-year-old woman for speaking in court about her horrific experience.

"I am grateful to her for her assistance in this case", Judge Potter added.

Gary Spilsbury was sentenced to 13 years for robbery, burglary and fraud, with nine years in prison and four to be served on licence.

Judge Potter gave Gemma Spilsbury, who handled stolen goods and committed fraud, an eight-month sentence.

They were both ordered to pay victim surcharge fees.