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Burglar jailed for New Year’s morning raid on sleeping couple in Torquay – Devon Live

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A burglar has been jailed for raiding a family home while the owners were sleeping off their New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The victim of the night time raid in Torquay were woken on January 1 by a text message from Barclays Bank alerting them to suspicious activity on their debit card.

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Serial burglar Alan Lamb had got in through an unlocked fanlight window while they were asleep upstairs and stolen a purse and wallet before fleeing out of the back door.

He went on a spending spree with the stolen cards, taking out £350 cash from two ATM machines and spending in two card transactions £115 at a petrol station’s shop.

He was caught using the stolen cards and police were able to identify him because he has convictions going back 19 years for burglary and fraud.

Lamb, also known as Ralph, originally from Salcombe but now homeless, admitted burglary and fraud and was jailed for two years, eight months by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.

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The was liable for a mandatory three year sentence, less credit for a guilty plea, under the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule.

The judge told him: “There was greater harm caused because the occupiers were present and asleep upstairs in bed while you were burgling downstairs.

”I have read the personal statements of the husband and wife, who were left upset and emotionally vulnerable and feeling quite fragile.

“An aggravating factor are your previous convictions for dwelling house burglaries in 2000, 2003, and 2014 and other offences of acquisitive dishonesty.”

Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said the owners of the house in Warbro Road, Torquay, went to bed at 12.30 am after seeing in the New Year.

They thought they had secured all their windows but one fanlight was unlocked and Lamb was able to open it, reach in, and open the larger window underneath it.

He climbed inside, stole the bank cards and left by the back door before using cash machines at Thomas Cook and a bank and making two purchases totalling £115 at the Abbey Road petrol station shop.

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Barclays detected the suspicious activity and blocked the card before he was able to buy a £309 train ticket and make his getaway.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Lamb had long standing drug problems which were being treated while he was living in Bristol last year.

He moved down to Torbay to stay with his family but there were problems in transferring his methadone prescription and he started using street drugs again.

Mr Dentith said Lamb’s previous record for burglary was not as bad as it appeared at first sight, because one offence involved breaking into his stepfather’s home in Salcombe after he was thrown out and another was a theft from the room of another resident in a hostel.

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