South Shields burglar raided five homes, leaving victims heartbroken as sentimental items stolen
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Scott Wilson targeted homes in South Shields between April and October 2022 and stole thousands of pounds worth or property, including items that were sentimentally "priceless".
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 32-year-old broke into a house on April 5, while the family was out, and he took cash, a games console and jewellery, worth a total of £4,950.
In August, Wilson entered another house, while the owner was out shopping and caused over £1,100 of damage and loss, including jewellery and an irreplaceable jewellery box that had been bought in 1982.
The court heard despite being captured on CCTV when he carried out the first raid in April, Wilson was not recogniseable from it.
But prosecutor Omar Ahmad said the victim of the first burglary spotted him in the street again and added: "He saw the defendant outside his address and recognised him as the male from the footage."
Mr Ahmad said the same victim had also been given Wilson's name as the potential raider and added: "Following researching online he found images of Wilson and was able to compare the images to the male on the CCTV andprovide that information to the police."
Wilson, of no fixed address, who was on a suspended sentence at the time of the some of the raids, pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and asked for a further three house break-ins, in August, September and October, to be taken into consideration by the judge.
The court heard he has convictions for 67 offences on his record but none are for house burglary.
The victim of the first raid said in an impact statement: "This man has caused so much upset to my family.
"Regardless of the insurance for some of the value, the jewellery is part of our history and is linked to significant dates and times in our lives that can never be replaced.
"I also have two young children with special needs. They were also affected and now hide their toys whenever we leave the house."
The victim of the second break-in said in a statement: "It's the sentimental value that hurts the most."
Mr Recorder Jason Pitter KC sentenced Wilson to two years behind bars and activated the 12 week suspended sentence.
The judge said: "The burglary victims speak of how these are items which cannot be replaced. The sentimental value is priceless.
"In total there are five burglaries to be considered."
Vic Laffey, defending, said Wilson has unresolved bereavement issues and has made good progress in prison on remand.
Mr Laffey added: "He is appalled by the upset he has caused.
"He sincerely apologises to the people he has caused problems for."
At the end of the hearing Wilson asked if he would be permitted to write to the victims of his offences and said; "I understand what I have done, I know I was wrong and there is no excuses for it."