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Man left DNA trail at scene

Keith Harris

Keith Harris

A burglar has been jailed for four and a half years – after he left traces of DNA on a can of drink and a cigarette butt at the scenes of his crime.

Keith Harris left an energy drink can at an address on Eastside, Blackpool, where he stole a laptop and cash.

While on bail for that offence, he burgled a home in Holbeck Avenue,Blackpool, stealing a laptop and Nintendo Wii, worth £700.

On that occasion he left a cigarette, also bearing his DNA.

Harris, 39, of Vicarage Lane, Marton had pleaded guilty to the two burglaries which took place in March and August.

He also admitted a bail offence, for which he was given another 21 days on top of his overall sentence.

Richard Haworth, prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, said a woman living at Eastside was alerted by a neighbour that her front door was wide open. Cash and a laptop had been taken. They were worth around £400.

An energy drink can, which was later found to have Harris’ DNA, was found on the floor in the front room.

The defendant was arrested in May, but claimed he wasn’t responsible. He was therefore on bail when he carried out the second burglary in August.

A man got up early to go to work and noticed that his front gate was open, which was unusual. His ground floor window was also open.

A cigarette was found on the living room floor and that was later found to have Harris’ DNA. The court was told he had 10 previous offences of burglary or attempted burglary on his record.

Jon Close, defending, said Harris had committed his first offence at the age of 11, when he was taken out by an older person.

He later developed a heroin addiction while in custody and ended up committing offences, going to prison and later committing more crime to fund his drug use.

Mr Close added: “There are clearly substantial underlying problems with the defendant.

“Two years ago he jumped into the sea, from the end of the pier.”

The barrister said that at the time of the offences Harris appeared to have broken his heroin addiction, but was drinking three bottles of cider a day.

He added “His benefits were cut by half because he turned up late for an appointment. The need for alcohol or food doesn’t go away.

“Leaving his DNA behind on both occasions is hardly the crime of someone thinking clearly and who is a sophisticated offender”.

Jailing him for four and a half years, Judge Robert Altham told Harris: “People understandably feel a sense of violation and unease, often for the rest of their lives, after a burglary has taken place”.

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