Flat left ‘trashed’ by drink-fuelled raider

Preston Crown Court.

Preston Crown Court.

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A man who did manual work at a friend’s flat ending up burgling a neighbouring address which became “trashed”.

Wayne Clegg went on to throw a vacuum cleaner towards a 16-year-old lad who challenged him as he left the flat where he had struck.

The boy went on to identify him to police.

Preston Crown Court was told the offence had been fuelled by drink.

Clegg, 39, of Argosy Avenue, Grange Park was given eight months prison, suspended for a year and ordered to pay £1,000 compensation for his crime.

He had pleaded guilty to the burglary which took place at the end of January.

Sue Carter, prosecuting, said that the occupant of the Cavendish Road flat was in prison at the time. The premises had been left secured, but the defendant denied forcing an entry.

Clegg seemed to have been fitting a carpet in an adjacent flat, towards the end of an evening, when a 16-year-old boy heard noises upstairs.

The teenager went upstairs to see Clegg coming out of a flat, with a vacuum cleaner.

The youngster challenged him and Clegg reacted by throwing the cleaner towards him.

“The young man had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by it”, said Miss Carter.

“The police had already been called. The defendant returned to the flat where he had been drinking with friends.

“He was identified by the boy.”

When the burgled flat was checked, a box was found outside. Inside the premises there had been a lot of disruption, what amounted to ransacking.

The prosecution said Clegg had told the boy he was owed money by the man who lived there and that was why he had gone in.

Julie Taylor, defending, said he had earlier stayed out of trouble for nearly 10 years, apart from one offence.

“This burglary was undoubtedly fuelled by drink,” she told the court.

“It was a lapse in behaviour for a man who had kept out of trouble for a long time.

“He works, is involved in charity work and very stupidly did this act which he immediately regretted.

“He can’t remember very much about the offence due to drink.

“He had finished working on his friend’s home, laying a carpet. He has now stopped drinking to excess.”

The judge dealing with the case, Recorder Paul Taylor, said it would be disproportionate to pass an immediate jail term.

But he told Clegg that he had “trashed” the flat concerned.