A burglar claimed he was “looking for Connor” when  he was “caught red handed” after breaking into another man’s house.

Damien Greenhalgh, 46, burgled the house on Tennyson Road, Farnworth nearly two years ago on November 26 2021.

Bolton Crown Court heard how he was still in the house and going through its property when the owner arrived home.

Prosecutor Katy Laverty said: “He found the defendant in his bedroom, searching through his drawers.

“The house had been ransacked.”

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

Ms Laverty said that Greenhalgh claimed he was “looking for Connor” only to be told there was no one of that name living there.

A confrontation ensued between Greenhalgh and the homeowner before he made his escape.

Ms Laverty said that around £175 in cash and more than £3,500 worth of jewellery were found to be missing.

Greenhalgh, of Lavender Road, Farnworth, was eventually arrested and at first claimed he could not remember what had happened.

But he pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal with brought before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court on Thursday September 14 this year.

Tom Farr, defending, argued that he was entitled to credit for having pleaded guilty and claimed that Greenhalgh had been caught in a “vicious cycle” of crime, having used heroin and crack cocaine in the past.

He said: “This is a man who has fallen through the cracks of society.”

He added: “This is a man who is crying out for help and has been for many years.”

Though he accepted that Greenhalgh, who has 34 previous convictions for 63 offences, has “a record as long as my arm”, Mr Farr said he was now “realistic” about his need to tackle his drugs and mental health issues.

He said: “This offence is totemic of the defendant’s life, chaotic and impulsive.”

District Judge Richard Clews reminded the court of the Greenhalgh’s crimes had had on his victim.

He said: “You were caught red handed by the householder as he came home and there was a confrontation between you.”

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But he accepted Greenhalgh’s guilty plea and the factors in his background affecting his life.

Judge Clews also acknowledged that Greenhalgh, who appeared via video link from prison, had just recently served a 16 month sentence for similar offences.

He sentenced Greenhalgh to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered hm to complete an 18 month drug rehabilitation requirement programme with 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Addressing the defendant, Judge Clews said: “This is an opportunity for you to sort yourself out, I hope you take it.”