A bungling burglar used his gran’s mobility scooter as a getaway vehicle in a botched house raid which was scuppered when the plucky elderly victim returned home and caught him taking a nap in her armchair.
Lee Jefferson, 28, broke into Marjorie Peacock’s cottage in Malton in broad daylight while she was out at the shops and bizarrely took his shoes off in the hallway before rifling through her home, apparently in a pair of slippers, York Crown Court heard.
Mrs Peacock, who lives alone, returned home to a scene of destruction and discovered to her horror that a glass pane in her front door had been smashed.
She peered in through a window and saw Jefferson snoozing in her armchair in the living room.
“She looked through the house (and could) see the back of (Jefferson’s) head as he sat in one of her armchairs,” said prosecutor Kelly Clarke.
Feisty Mrs Peacock shouted: “What the bloody hell are you doing? Get out!”
Jefferson, who was “comatose” in the armchair, didn’t respond, so the doughty pensioner went out into the road and flagged down a passer-by who called police.
When officers arrived, they found a scene of chaos including smashed glass, items strewn all over the house and a mobility scooter parked in the garage, surrounded by items Jefferson had taken from the victim’s shed including a lawnmower, some brushes, gardening gloves and hand tools.
There was a pair of trainers in the hallway and the front door had been locked from the inside. Ms Clarke said that Jefferson, who lived near the victim, had planned his getaway with the mobility scooter but his plans went awry when he decided to take a rest in the armchair and fell asleep on the job.
She said police had to smash the inner glass pane of the front door to get inside the house as it had been locked from the inside.
They arrested Jefferson inside the house where a pair of slippers were found next to the armchair.
A search of the cottage, in leafy Castle Howard Road, revealed that Jefferson had rifled through various rooms including the victim’s bedroom where he took items including “highly sentimental” jewellery, some of which had belonged to her mother, and Christmas decorations from a cupboard and a chest of drawers.
Jefferson had found two handbags in another bedroom which he had simply moved and placed on the bed. He was found with the victim’s ornaments, bird figurines and her bank and loyalty cards.
Ready to make off
Mrs Clarke said the damage caused to the property was estimated at £1,060.
She said that Jefferson, who is not disabled but “occasionally” used his gran’s mobility scooter, had carefully closed the double gates behind him, parked the scooter in the garage, then placed an item on the lock of the front door after breaking in so no-one could walk in on him.
He was “ready to make off” with the victim’s possessions but fell asleep.
Jefferson, of Princess Road, Malton, told police he had little recollection of the incident as he had taken a cocktail of alcohol and prescription drugs.
He was charged with burglary and admitted the offence, which occurred on the afternoon of February 3. He appeared for sentence via video link today after being remanded in custody.
Ms Clarke said Jefferson had 22 previous offences on his record including burglaries and assaulting an emergency worker.
His solicitor advocate Graham Parkin said Jefferson had mental-health issues and his bizarre actions at Mrs Peacock’s house were a “moment of madness”.
He said that in the hours leading up to the raid, Jefferson had been helping to move some furniture and other items at his gran’s home in Malton which was very close to where the victim lived.
He said Jefferson had taken his shoes off before going into the victim’s home because his gran “doesn’t like people wearing shoes in her house”.
He added that Jefferson, who is a father, used his gran’s mobility scooter “on occasions” even though he didn’t have mobility issues.
Recorder Taryn Turner said the only reason Jefferson didn’t make off with any items from the victim’s home was because he “had a kip in the armchair”.
She described Mrs Peacock as a “fairly stoic lady” and a “lady of fortitude”.
She told Jefferson: “This was quite clearly a determined and heartless search of Mrs Peacock’s property.”
She said it had had a “devastating and traumatic effect on that lady who lives alone in that house and has done so for many years”.
“That poor lady came back to her house to find you sitting comatose (in her living room), possibly as a consequence of an ingesting of alcohol and prescribed drugs that you took apparently for your own health conditions,” added Mrs Turner.
Jefferson was jailed for 20 months.
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