Bristol burglar stole keys through cat flap
A BISHOPSWORTH burglar has been jailed for stealing from a teacher's house he broke into through the cat flap.
Steven Pearce gave a new meaning to cat burglary when he pinched the keys to a Bedminster House using a litter-picker pincer poked through the back door opening.
The 35-year-old, who has ten previous convictions for burglary, was sent to prison for 30 months at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.
His sentence also took into account his part in a "terrifying" aggravated burglary and criminal damage at a family home in Bath.
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The court heard that Pearce committed the burglary using the cat flap while on conditional discharge for handling stolen goods.
On October 22, 2012, he targeted teacher Sarah Franks' home where she was sleeping with her two children, aged nine and ten.
Prosecuting, Rupert Lowe said: "The burglar put an instrument through the cat flap and took the keys from on top of a bag. He then let himself into the house and stole her son's iPod, iPad, her computer, purse and memory stick containing the work of children in her school."
In total Pearce pinched £2,000 of goods just 15 days after narrowly avoiding prison for handling other stolen items.
But Pearce was stopped in Withywood days later and found with a "litter-picker type instrument", a blue torch and black socks as well as £100 in cash and Ms Franks' mobile phone.
When arrested he was also found to be in possession of heroin.
Mr Lowe said Pearce told police in interview that he hadn't been involved in the burglary, had won the money at Ladbrokes and had found the litter-picker at the side of the road.
Defending Pearce, Jonathan Stanniland said he should be given credit for staying out of trouble for two years before the summer of 2012, despite his list of 35 previous convictions.
Judge Mark Horton condemned Pearce for what he considered a "calculated" burglary.
He said: "Against a back drop of your history you used a device held for a sneaky burglary."
He also took into account Pearce's involvement in a "highly aggravated" burglary in Peasedown St John, near Bath, on January 26, 2012.
The court had heard Pearce attempted to force entry into the home of a Portuguese couple known as Mr and Mrs Santos while Mrs Santos was cooking and helping her five-year-old son with his homework.
An accomplice, known only as "male two", smashed the front door of the home with an axe after the group were embroiled in a "drug related" incident on the street.
"The incident went on for 15 minutes and so terrified were the family that the mother took her son upstairs and hid him in his bed," said Judge Horton.
Pearce received 15 months for the possession of a weapon and four months for criminal damage, to be served concurrently.
Judge Horton also gave him five months for handling stolen goods and 10 months for burglary, to be served consecutively.
He set no further punishment for breaching the conditional discharge.