A FRIGHTENED teenage mother came face to face with a burglar who had been released from prison just hours earlier.
The 16-year-old confronted Roy Ashcroft, 35, who was found rummaging through her underwear drawer at a mother and baby unit in Hornby Road, Blackpool.
He was sentenced to 18 months behind bars after pleading guilty to burglary at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard how Ashcroft, of no fixed address, was drunk when the girl challenged him.
He had been released on the morning of August 24 following a six-day sentence for shoplifting.
Brett Gerrity, prosecuting, said: “She challenged him, asking what he was doing. He said he was looking for a party and friends had let him into the unit. She knew that couldn’t be correct as the door was security locked.
“She called for a member of staff to assist.
“The defendant remained in the room and was calm and co-operative in turning out his pockets when asked to do so”.
Ashcroft was found with £10 cash, a mobile phone SIM card a necklace of fake pearls, perfume and underwear.
After his arrest he told police he had been released from prison that morning, but his memory of the rest of the day had been impaired because he claimed he had been “spiked”, though he didn’t know what with.
Wayne Jackson, defending, said Ashcroft did not shy away from his wrongdoing. He can’t explain what happened that day. He didn’t really know what he was doing.
“He reverted back to type and got in through an open window.
“He didn’t try to run away once he had been caught.
“He has genuine remorse for what he has done.”
The judge, Recorder Mark Ainsworth, said the confrontation must have been terrifying for the girl who lived at the flat.
Passing sentence he told Ashcroft: “However commendably she dealt with it at the time, one can understand the shock it has had upon her, the unsettling effect as to whether she could feel secure in her bedroom.
“That’s the real effect of the offence of burglary.
“The impact upon someone can be immense and go on for a long time, that’s why the courts treat these offences so seriously.
“You have an appalling record for offences of dishonesty.”
Speaking to The Gazette after the sentencing, DC Eleanor Heaney, who dealt with the case, said: “The victim was a young girl who was understandably really upset.
“The knowledge he’s not going to be walking the streets for some time now will be reassuring for her.”