Drug-addict burglar struck while children slept

A house in Wellesley Road was one of two burgled in one night by Sonny Larter. Picture: Nick Butcher

A house in Wellesley Road was one of two burgled in one night by Sonny Larter. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant © 2008

A drug-addict burglar clambered into two homes and stole various belongings in the same evening while children slept inside.

On the night of October 21 Sonny Larter, 22 and of no fixed abode, gained access to two Great Yarmouth homes, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Speaking at a sentencing hearing on Thursday, prosecutor Chris Youell told the court how Larter had climbed through unsecured windows of two homes in the town, on Wellesley Road and Bermondsey Place.

Once inside, he crept around gathering belongings before escaping off into the night - while the young children of the two families slept.

Larter's first stop was the home on Wellesley Road, where he got through a window and stole three iPads and an iPod.

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He then stole a variety of objects from the Bermondsey Place home, including cash, bank cards, jewellery and a purse.

And it was the thefts from the second home that resulted in his eventual capture, as he was caught on CCTV using one of the stolen bank cards to buy a packet of cigarettes at the town's Express Stores at 5.30am the following day.

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While the iPod belonging to the first family was recovered, the three iPads - costing a combined £1,800 - were never returned.

Sentencing Larter to 15 months in prison, Judge Andrew Shaw said: "Breaking into people's houses causes obvious devastation. People are entitled to feel safe in their own homes and your actions have had substantial impact on the two families and you need to reflect on that.

"The offences are aggravated by the fact that children were at home at the time."

A victim impact statement written by one of the families whose homes was burgled by Larter said: "This has made me feel scared to be in my own home. I have young children and everything has changed. I think about there being knives in the kitchen and what could happen if somebody was in the house. Whenever somebody knocks on the door, I jump."

In mitigation, John Morgans, Larter's solicitor said: "The defendant has significant drug problems and is very proud of the fact that while being inside he has been able to detoxify.

"He is a young man that has learning difficulties and is trying not to make them obvious."

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