Deaf victim of heartless thief

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A HEARTLESS thief who burgled a deaf man’s home – taking computer games in front of the victim’s eyes – was behind bars today.

Daniel Bell claimed he was borrowing the items after marching into the man’s flat on Shore Road, Bispham, and picking up the property.

He was under the influence of drink and drugs at the time, Preston Crown Court.

He had earlier asked the victim for money.

The resident, who was able to lip read, felt he was being pestered for money for Bell to buy drugs and repeatedly refused the request.

Bell, 25, of Trent Road, South Shore, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to burglary.

He was jailed for 14 months by a judge at Preston Crown Court.

The offence dated back to the early evening of June 27 last year.

Rachel Woods, prosecuting, said the victim lived next door to the defendant’s parents.

On the date of the offence he was sat in the back yard, minding his own business, reading a paper and enjoying the weather.

Bell then tapped him on the head, from the other side of a 5ft high dividing wall in the yard.

Lip reading, the man understood the defendant was pestering him for some money for drugs.

He repeatedly refused to give him any money.

Bell then jumped over the wall and without saying anything, walked into the flat and into the living room.

Miss Woods told the court “He had a look around, to see if there was anything worth taking.

He appeared to spot a collection of computer games and picked up a handful of them.

“Asked what he thought he was doing, he claimed he wanted to borrow them.

“ He was told he couldn’t take them, but apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer and simply walked out of the flat”.

The man sought help from a neighbour and the police were called.

The stolen property went on to be recovered.

At the time of the offence, Bell was on a suspended prison sentence for assault.

Mark Savill, defending, said “This was an incredibly serious, but also an incredibly stupid offence.

“It lacked any degree of sophistication. He was known.

“Had he engaged his brain, he would have realised that”.

The barrister said Bell was someone trying to come to terms with his drug and alcohol use.

Judge Norman Wright told the defendant in passing sentence “It must have been a very frightening experience for your victim to realise that his castle, his inner sanctum, his home, was being invaded by someone, even though he was there.

“You knew he was vulnerable.”