Burglar hid in wardrobe during raid at elderly couple’s house

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A burglar has been jailed after a court heard how he hid in a wardrobe during a late-night raid on an elderly couple’s Halifax home.

Window cleaner Stuart Wardle, 27, claimed to have carried out the burglary while he was drunk, but he was locked up for 876 days after a judge was told he had two previous house burglaries on on his record.

Wardle, of Autumn Street, Halifax, sneaked into the couple’s home on Love Lane while they were having a dinner party in February and after a search of a bedroom he pocketed more than 20 items from a jewellery box.

Bradford Crown Court heard that at one stage Wardle had hidden in the wardrobe before fleeing the house via a window.

A few weeks after the burglary Wardle took his chance to steal an iPhone from a shop where he had gone to buy some food.

Prosecutor Mehran Nassiri told the court that the stolen jewellery held sentimental value for the female complainant and only one item had been recovered.

Wardle, who had already admitted stealing the iPhone, pleaded guilty to the burglary offence when he appeared at the crown court.

His barrister Abigail Langford explained that her client’s problem had always been drink.

Jailing Wardle the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC confirmed that his previous burglary offences meant he was now a “three strikes” offender facing a minimum term of three years in jail.

But Wardle’s guilty plea meant that three-year starting point could be reduced to 876 days.

“You sneaked into the bedroom and emptied a few drawers and filled your pockets, no doubt, with jewellery which had real sentimental value,” the judge told Wardle.