A BURGLAR struck at affluent properties in Cleveleys then pretended to be a debt collector when disturbed.
Joseph Bokas stole DVD’s and alcohol, having broken in to homes.
He was eventually caught when one resident invited police to hide in his garden in order to catch the culprit.
The 35-year-old who committed the offences at Linden Close, Cleveleys, was handed a prison sentence of three years and four months by a judge at Preston Crown Court.
Bokas, of Ardmore Road, Bispham, had pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary, two of attempted burglary and one of theft. The offences were carried out late at night November 17th last year and into the early hours of the following day.
John Woodward, prosecuting, said the houses on Linden Close were detached, in a well-to-do area that had a private road.
Bokas tried to burgle one address where a 16-year-old male student spotted a figure behind the frosted glass in his bathroom. The stranger left and the police were told.
At another house, a young man went to his kitchen and spotted the defendant crouched down by a pile of CD’s.
Bokas twice said “debt collectors” to him. The lad who found him was very shocked and frightened by the experience.
Around thirty DVD’s and a bottle of wine were taken from that home.
Bokas had got in by throwing a concrete slab through glass.
At another home, a man heard what sounded like someone trying to kick in his back door.
Mr Woodward told the court “The police were in the back garden, having already been alerted. That seemed to work as the defendant was arrested.
He had taken three cans of lager.
“He said he could not remember a thing about it. He had drunk so much that he was effectively oblivious to what happened”.
It appeared that Bokas had been out of prison for a couple of months at the time, following his release from an earlier sentence.
Nick Courtney, defending, said the amounts of property stolen were limited in value and a good deal had been recovered.
He said: “This is a case of a man going out on an unplanned spree.
There is no suggestion he equipped himself to go burgling. He immediately admitted matters in police interview”.
Mr Courtney said that before the offences, Bokas’ previous life had “come back to haunt him”.
His mother had killed her partner and she got back in touch with the defendant while awaiting her sentence. As a result, he ended up back on drink.
Judge Heather Lloyd, who passed sentence, said: “People have to be protected from the disturbance of their homes and the confrontations that took place. It must be very frightening indeed”.