A MAN approached by police investigating an attempted break-in at a pensioner’s home claimed “Yes, I’m a burglar, but retired”.
Stephen Ashurst was in fact responsible for two crimes at the time.
He has now been jailed for four years.
As he appeared before Preston Crown Court for sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman was told Ashurst had spent a total of 36 years of his life behind bars.
The 55-year-old had admitted a burglary at a home on Sidmouth Road, St Annes and an attempted burglary at another address in St Annes.
Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said in each instance, the elderly women occupants had been away from home at the time earlier this year.
The Sidmouth Road address had its front bedroom ransacked. A toilet was damaged and a bathroom door had been kicked off its hinges.
A gold sapphire and diamond ring, worth about £150, was missing.
He had left a foot print at the scene.
Matters came to light after Ashurst tried to burgle another home in St Annes.
A next door neighbour heard noises and a man was found at the rear.
He ran off, but was ultimately traced because he ran to a hired car.
That vehicle was traced back to Ashurst.
When asked if he was known to the police, Ashurst replied “Yes, I’m a burglar, but retired.”
Mr McEntee added “The first bit was accurate, but the second not quite so accurate”.
The defendant was described as having a “considerable” record for burglary.
He had fifty seven offences in total to his name.
Wayne Jackson, defending, said “It works out that he has spent 36 years in total in prison.
“He accepts he is institutionalised.
“He accepts he is a burglar. He has spent so long in custody it doesn’t frighten him in any way.
“I’m not instructed to offer any sort of explanation, excuse or sob story.”
Judge Andrew Woolman said the latest offences were “mean”.
He also told Ashurst “You are a burglar by profession.
“You have numerous convictions for burglary.
“You have spent 36 years in prison.
“It is a very sad tale indeed.”