A burglar raided three houses in Kineton on the same night - and at one home brazenly took cash from the pocket of a pair of jeans in the bedroom where the owners were sleeping.
And ‘career burglar’ Mark Lelli was jailed for six years after a judge at Warwick Crown Court slammed a defence suggestion that he could be given less than three years as ‘preposterous.’
Lelli (38) of Pitwick Court, Banbury, had pleaded guilty at the court to three charges of burglary.
Prosecutor Ilana Davis said all three burglaries took place on the same night at occupied properties in Kineton at a time when Lelli was on licence from an earlier sentence.
At one house in Banbury Road, he smashed a window to get in, and stole a purse containing cash and bank and credit cards.
He struck at another house in Banbury Road, getting in through an insecure window, and stole £90 in cash.
Lelli also got into a house in nearby Green Farm End through an insecure window to again take a purse and cash.
Judge Peter Cooke, who described Lelli as ‘a career burglar,’ observed that at that house ‘change was taken from a pair of jeans in the bedroom where the occupants were asleep.’
Miss Davis added that Lelli was a ‘fifth strike’ house burglar, and at the time was on licence from a 57-month sentence imposed in February 2017 for burglary.
John Briant, defending, argued that the offences were not in the most serious category, despite being night-time burglaries of occupied houses.
“I would ask Your Honour to consider three years to be the starting point of this offence, and to give him credit for his plea.”
“Mr Lelli had been released and he had been doing well. He had been able to obtain a property and had signed on at an agency to start work.
“Unfortunately he’s a man who has had a long-term problem with heroin, and he fell back into that, which prompted these offences.”
But jailing Lelli, Judge Cooke told him: “If Mr Briant has led you to believe you are going to get a sentence of 865 days, I am afraid you are going to be sorely disappointed.”
He referred to the statement of one victim who had said: “When people ask about what I’ve lost, I say I’ve lost the safety of living in my own home.”
The judge said: “What you did in the space of one night was to violate three homes, bringing misery to three families.
“What is suggested is that I give you a sentence of less than three years. That is preposterous.
“You are a habitual burglar. Sentences must keep going up and up until you get the message or are kept out of harm’s way.”
Lelli was given concurrent three-year sentences for the two Banbury Road burglaries – with a consecutive three-year term for the Green Farm End raid where he had gone into the bedroom.