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Man burgled pensioner's room in a nursing home

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: October 22, 2012

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A drug addict who burgled homes to pay for his next fix has been jailed for five years.

Paul Hammond was so desperate he stole from a pensioner’s room in a nursing home, Bristol Crown Court heard.

He also escaped police custody, when taken to hospital, by climbing out of a toilet window and breaking into a cottage nearby.

Hammond, 39, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two burglaries and escape, all last month.

Judge Carol Hagen told him: “The only mitigation is your plea of guilt and your remorse.

“Count one was a particularly serious burglary, at night-time on a vulnerable, elderly occupant.

“I very much hope you will be clean of drugs and make a fresh start.”

Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said Hammond plundered credit cards, keys and a diary from a room at St Agnes nursing home in Weston-super-Mare.

He said 77-year-old resident Harry Whitehead was woken at 3am to see a light and Hammond crouching in his room.

Mr Bell told the court: “Mr Whitehead asked ‘what are you doing?

“The man climbed out of the window.”

The court heard the pensioner was greatly affected by the break-in and now sleeps with his window shut.

Three days later Hammond plundered jewellery and computer equipment from Moorland Road, Weston-super-Mare.

Mr Bell said one householder accused the other of leaving the place looking like it had been burgled, before they realised it had been.

Items stolen included four rings worth £2,000, the court heard.

Later that day Hammond was arrested, whilst hiding in a church, for the nursing home burglary.

At the scene was a bag of clothes and used needles.

Mr Bell said that, while in police custody at hospital, Hammond climbed through a toilet window and burgled a home.

Hammond told police he offended whilst withdrawing from heroin.

He had used the pensioner’s bank card to withdraw £250 after finding the card’s PIN written on a bank statement.

Derek Perry, defending, said his client was remorseful, candid and knew wrong from right.

He said that when clean of drugs Hammond was a presentable, decent and personable man.

The judge told him: “That’s the tragedy of the drug.”

Mr Perry said: “He got the stuff. He got the money. He got the drugs.”

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