Couple's Christmas burglary campaign in Lincoln netted £15k haul
A couple were caught red handed with items stolen in a "Christmas burglary campaign" at houses across Lincoln.
James Parker, 24, stole property valued at more than £15,000 after targeting dozens of properties in the city and surrounding villages in December last year.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Parker was driven to the burglaries by his girlfriend, Charlotte Hall, 21, after he persuaded her she was doing nothing wrong by driving him to the city.
Passing sentence, Judge Sean Morris told Parker he had a "bad record" and it was an aggravating factor that he had recruited his partner.
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Hall, who had no previous convictions, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.
She was also ordered to obey a six-month electronically monitored curfew between 7pm and 7am and placed under the supervision of a probation officer for 18 months.
The court heard Parker committed 28 burglaries and attempted break-ins in December last year.
He pleaded guilty to five charges of burglary and asked for the other 23 offences to be taken into consideration by the sentencing judge.
More than £1,000 worth of property including computer equipment and a watch with sentimental value was taken by Parker from the home of Martin Ford in Baildon Crescent, North Hykeham, on December 12.
Seven days later, Patrica Thomas was left feeling vulnerable in her home of 40 years in Granson Way, Washingborough after Parker snatched items including electrical equipment.
On December 20, Parker stole property including a 100-year-old bracelet from the home of an elderly couple in Nursery Road, Lincoln.
Two days before Christmas a lap-top computer was stolen from the home of Tiffany Curtis in Byron Avenue, Lincoln.
A set of pearls valued at £1,200 were among the property snatched from a house in Anzio Crescent, Lincoln, on Boxing Day.
The crime spree came to an end when police raided the couple's home in King Street, Market Rasen, on December 27. Inside officers recovered much of the stolen property.
The court heard Parker had a string of previous convictions for dishonesty and was jailed for four years in 2009.
Mark Watson, mitigating for Parker, said he accepted being the "driving force" behind the break-ins.
Jailing Parker for two years and four months, Judge Morris added: "This was a campaign of burglary during the Christmas period when there was rich pickings to be had in peoples' homes.
"It was the season of goodwill to all, you broke some hearts."
Meanwhile, he told Hall: "You richly deserve to go to prison.
" If there is one thing a burglar needs it is somebody to drive him and look perfectly innocent. That is you."
But Judge Morris added: "It is clear to me you are a stupid girl who fell for a man who got you in to crime.
"I don't mean to be impolite, love blinds may be a better way of putting it."
Speaking after the hearing, DC Glen Wright from Lincolnshire Police welcomed the sentence.
"As the judge said this was a campaign of burglary," he said.
"I think he was right in that Parker was the driving force as Hall was a young lady with no previous convictions."