Barry Lowery, 41, has been jailed for ten years at Durham Crown Court for stealing thousands of pounds’ worth of computer equipment from a student house in Durham.
The burglary was carried out at a house in High Wood View on 24th November 2016.
The court heard that he had abandoned an attempt to break in to a different student house a short while earlier, but then proceeded to target the house belonging to four final-year students who were out for the evening.
Andrew Finlay, prosecuting, described how Lowery smashed the window in the back door and stole over £5,000 worth of possessions, including laptops and other electronic devices.
However, the serial burglar left blood at the point where he had entered the house, and forensic matches enabled his arrest on 6th December. One of the missing devices was found at his home.
Lowery initially denied any involvement with the burglary, giving various explanations for why his blood may have been found at the house. However, he then proceeded to admit burglary.
The four students gave victim statements to the court, detailing the loss of dissertations and other important course work.
He also targeted the room of an American student, in a hall of residence, in August last year.
Her passport was stolen, meaning that she could not travel home to see her family as she had planned, as well as a laptop and jewellery ‘of a sentimental value.’
Judge Prince told the defendant: “This is what burglary does to people, Mr Lowery, although I doubt that even hearing of the effect on the victims will prick your conscience to the slightest extent, because I’m sure you’ve heard all this before.”
Detective Inspector Aelfwynn Sampson, of Durham City CID, stated following the case, “My hope is the significance of this sentence will allow Barry Lowery time to reflect upon his crimes and will also serve as a warning to those involved in this type of criminality.
“We do find that students in Durham can be targeted by burglars.
“Durham Police work closely with the university to offer crime prevention support to students and landlords to deter burglars from travelling to the city to commit these types of offences.
“These crimes can often be very distressing and disruptive to the lives of their victims and we hope after today’s sentence they feel justice has been served.”
Photograph: Durham Constabulary