Homeless man jailed after breaking into Great Yarmouth church

Unitarian Church Yarmouth

Unitarian Church Yarmouth - Credit: Archant

A homeless man broke into a Great Yarmouth church, causing £1,000 worth of damage, a court heard.

Dean Ely, 39, broke a window to gain access to the Old Meeting Unitarian Church, in Greyfriars Way, and then smashed his way through locked doors in the building using a fire extinguisher, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Duncan O'Donnell, prosecuting, said Ely stole some low value items from the church including a CD player and power tools and was arrested for the burglary after his blood was left behind at the scene. He had cut himself on the window while breaking in.

Mr O'Donnell said Ely caused £1,000 worth of damage and said: 'The ransacking caused quite a significant loss to the church, which had to put right the damage.'

The court heard that Ely had a number of previous convictions, including some for burglary.

Ely, of no fixed address, admitted the burglary in September this year and was jailed for six months.

Peter Spary, for Ely, said he had not deliberately targeted the church but was homeless and looking for somewhere to stay. He said Ely also had mental health problems.

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Ely, who appeared via a video link to prison, told the court he had been offered help by members of another church group on his release.

Jailing him, Judge Stephen Holt said he had caused a 'significant amount of damage'. However, he accepted that Ely had a number of problems and urged him to get any help offered.

He said: 'Get help from those people and try not to come back to court again.'

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