Woman who came home to burglar in her bedroom took pictures of the thief which helped bring her to justice – Gloucestershire Live
A Forest of Dean woman who arrived home to find a burglar in her bedroom bravely challenged her, locked her in, and called the police.
When the burglar, Deborah Shingles, 43, still managed to get away, householder Thelma Brassington took a photo of her which later helped to bring her to justice, Gloucester Crown Court was told on Monday.
Shingles, of Hawthorn Road, Drybrook, was jailed for 14 months after she admitted burglary of a property in Nailbridge, near Steam Mills, Cinderford, on August 8, 2019.
Prosecutor Robert Morgan-Jones said Shingles got into the house by forcing open a door at the back.
“The 63 year old owner returned home in the early evening and noticed that the letter box was buckled, but thought nothing more of it,” the prosecutor said.
“But on entering the house she noticed clothing strewn across the bed and a suitcase lying on the floor.
“She then noticed a woman standing in her wardrobe and she challenged her before calling the police and locking the woman in the property.
‘Burglar escaped and sped off’
“However, Shingles managed to get out of the property and, with the homeowner looking on, she had the sense to take some photographs of the woman who was heavily laden with her property.
“The homeowner then challenged Shingles who immediately responded with, ‘These belong to Chloe’ and sped off.
“Shingles was caught by the police a short while later and she was found to be in possession of several handbags. She told the police that she thought Chloe lived at the property.”
The police searched the woman who was found to have a quantity of jewellery on her and a small bag up her leg that contained cannabis.
Mr Morgan-Jones added: “However there was one handbag that wasn’t recovered from the burglary. It was bright yellow mustard in colour and contained a number of the home owner’s personal and sentimental items in it.
“The bag had in it a quantity of valuable jewellery, £600 in cash and a number of irreplaceable items of sentimental value, which in monetary terms was in the region of £3,000.
“This handbag and its contents have never been recovered.”
‘Victim was left scared’
Judge Michael Cullum said: “Had the colourful bag been stuffed in a hedge or had been dropped it would have been found by now.
“The obvious conclusion is that the bag was passed to somebody else immediately after the burglary.”
In a victim statement the homeowner said that Shingles had left her scared to be in her own house and she was upset that items of sentimental value had been taken from her.
The court heard that Shingles has 45 criminal convictions dating back over a decade.
Defending Ian Fenny said: “Shingles formed a relationship in the Noughties with a man with a class A drug habit. Her offending stems from this time.
“Shingles has little recognition of the events of August 8 as she was under the influence of drink and drugs. She accepts that dwelling house burglary is a very serious offence.
“She doesn’t know who Chloe is, it was a name she gave as an excuse.
“Shingles has spent a month in custody. I note today that she is rational, coherent and regrets what she has done. She also realises the impact it has had on the homeowner.
“Putting her behind bars has already acted as a deterrent. Staying in prison for months would not benefit Shingles’ rehabilitation in the long term.”
‘You are of an age where this sort of serious offending should have been left behind’
Judge Michael Cullum said to Shingles: “This was a burglary where you were disturbed in the bedroom. Despite claiming to be intoxicated with drugs and drink you still had the power of speech and a readymade answer when you were challenged.
“You’ve stolen £3,000 worth of jewellery and other items from a 63-year-old woman and managed to offload them to an accomplice. The items were of high value and were of a sentimental value.
“You are of an age where this sort of serious offending should have been left behind.
“You have a history of poor compliance with court orders and therefore I have no option but to sentence you to 14 months imprisonment.”
The judge ordered that Shingles pay a victim surcharge. There was no separate penalty for the possession of a controlled drug, for which the judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the cannabis found on Shingles.