A burglar left a trail of blood from the house he had stolen from to a park where he was arrested, a court has heard.

Stephen Hoyes, 56, burgled a couple in their 70s on Bolton Road, Kearsley, in the middle of the afternoon on February 23 this year.

Bolton Crown Court heard how the couple had been out at the time when word reached the elderly woman who lived at the house.

Tobias Collins, prosecuting, said: “She received a phone call from a neighbour who saw broken glass around the house.”

He added: “They then returned home to find more broken glass and bloodspots inside.”

The Bolton News: The case was heard at Bolton Crown CourtThe case was heard at Bolton Crown Court (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Collins told the court how Hoyes’ movements had been traced revealing that he went from the home he had burgled to a chicken shop and then a phone shop where he used some of the stolen cash to buy a Samsung mobile phone and some headphones.

But he was then arrested at a nearby park that same day, answering no comment to questions put to him by police.

Hoyes, of Halcombe Crescent, Kearsley, had stolen various items from the house including a television, perfume, a kindle, watches and cash, coming to around £1535 worth of goods.

Despite pleading not guilty to burglary, he was then convicted at a trial at Manchester Magistrates Court on March 29, held in his absence after he refused to leave his cell.

Mr Collins told the court that Hoyes, who has 39 previous convictions for 96 offences, was already serving a suspended sentence at the time, for an incident on February 15 last year when he assaulted a worker at Home Bargains in Farnworth and was found carrying a knife.

Nicholas Ross, defending, accepted that Hoyes had earned himself no credit by protesting his innocence until being convicted at trial but reminded the court that the couple had not been home at the time and so had not been in danger.

He said: “This was daytime, the property at the time was not occupied the occupants were out going about their day’s business, there was no confrontation.”

Mr Ross said there had been no planning or targeting involved and that Hoyes had made sure that the couple were out at the time.

He added that Hoyes, who had an extensive record for burglaries in the 1990s, had managed to avoid similar crimes for more than 20 years before his most recent offence.

Mr Ross also explained that Hoyes suffered from a “life shortening” liver disease.

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Recorder Alexandra Simmonds accepted that alcohol had clearly had a “terrible effect” on Hoyes but reminded him of the effect his actions had had on others.

Addressing the defendant, she said: “The reality is you broke into somebody’s house and took property which didn’t belong to you, which was obviously very distressing for them.”

She added: “I’m going to give you a suspended sentence Mr Hoyes but you won’t get another chance if you come before the courts again.”

Recorder Simmonds gave Hoyes a 15-month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered him to complete 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days with an alcohol treatment requirement.

She also hit him with a £100 fine.