A burglar who broke into a family’s home as they slept upstairs was caught after he used their stolen bank cards to by vodka and Jack Daniels.
Steven Trower was already drunk when police arrested him on Bideford Quay at 11.35am on the morning after the raid on a house 400 metres away in Northdown Road.
He and fellow burglar Quinn Britton were living rough in the town and broke into the family home as the owners and their two children slept upstairs.
They were awoken by their car alarm at 4.15am but went back to bed without realising their house had been broken into.
By the time they noticed that their car keys, handbag, purse, wallets and bank card had been stolen, Trower and Britton had already used them for contactless transactions in three shops.
They bought food, bottles of vodka and Jack Daniels, coffees and scratchcards and were identified by police from CCTV at the Co-op, McColls and the Texaco garage.
Trower, aged 40, and Britton, aged 20, both of no fixed abode, admitted burglary, handling and fraud when they appeared at Exeter Crown Court.
Trower was jailed for two years and four months and Britton’s case was adjourned for a drug treatment assessment by Judge Timothy Rose.
He told Trower: “Anyone who wakes up to find they have been burgled as they slept upstairs is almost certainly going to be quite shocked and to feel less secure in their own home.”
Herc Ashworth, prosecuting, said the family who live at the house went to bed at 11.00pm on May 31 and were woken by their car alarm at 4.15pm.
They checked their two vehicles and went back to bed but realised the house had been burgled when they got up the next day. Some wine, a bottle of milk, and their bags and wallets had been stolen.
Trower and Britton had used their two bank cards to buy £28.50 worth of food and £10 worth of scratchcards at Texaco, vodka at the Coop and Jack Daniels at McColls.
They were arrested on the Quay where Trower was drinking the alcohol.
Ligiea Girard, defending, said Trower was living rough after falling out with his family and had taken a large dose of Valium, which he had bought from an online pharmacy.
He was also drinking heavily and could not remember carrying out the burglary. He feels he has let himself down and is sorry for what he did.
He is worried about the health of his parents and wants to turn his life around so he can play a part in raising his two young grandchildren.