Burglar Lee Henry broke into house to help brother pay drug debt
BURGLAR Lee Henry told a court he only broke into a house in Swindon Village, Cheltenham, to help his brother raise money to pay a drug debt.
Henry, 31, broke into the home in Roman Hackle Avenue, and took £1,100-worth of property including a camera, two netbooks and an iPad.
But he was caught thanks to the next-door neighbour's CCTV home security camera.
It filmed such good quality images of Henry that police were able to identify him and arrest him, said prosecutor Lisa Hennessy.
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Henry, of Painswick Road, Cheltenham, admitted burgling the house on August 7 and stealing property owned by householder Paul Edgar.
He was jailed for 20 months.
Mrs Hennessy said Mr Edgar arrived home at 4.30pm to find a back door panel kicked in and property stolen from several rooms. Two watches and some jewellery were also missing.
Police checked the neighbour's CCTV and saw film of Henry kicking in the door panel then climbing over a fence and disappearing before returning five minutes later. He was then seen emerging from the house with all the loot in a pillowcase.
Before leaving, he was seen cleaning off the fence to get rid of DNA evidence.
Henry caused £800 worth of damage during the raid, she added. He had made 46 previous court appearances for a total of 110 offences. Claire Malvern-White, defending, said, as the eldest son, he had decided to try and help his family.
"Unlike some of his previous convictions, this was not an offence motivated by misuse of drugs. He was at that time testing negative for Class A drugs," she said.
"The catalyst for the offences was receiving information from a family member who was in difficulties with his own drug debt.
"It would appear threats had been made to his family. There are several family members at home including his terminally-ill father so he decided, as the eldest of the children, to assist his brother in paying that drug debt.
"He reverted to the only way he knew how to make some quick money. It is something he now very much regrets."
Jailing Henry for 20 months, Judge William Hart said he had a "dreadful record" and there was no alternative to immediate custody.
"This was a serious offence of domestic burglary which caused significant loss and significant damage," he said.