A 32-year-old burglar led police on a car chase through Derby city center until he drove into a one-way street and fled on foot.
Derby Crown Court heard how hours before, Ian Wallis had broken into a house in Heanor, stolen the keys to the Peugeot and driven off in it. The defendant also took designer items and booze from the property while the victim and her son were asleep.
Handing him an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, Recorder Simon King said: “You know and you understand that people who burgle other people’s houses when other people might be present, as they were in this case, go to prison.
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“Ordinarily there would be no doubt about that but (in the past 12 months) you have dragged yourself out of the complete mess your life was in and there’s a real prospect of rehabilitation.”
Thomas Welshman, prosecuting, said police spotted the stolen Peugeot in Traffic Street at around 1.30am on April 25, 2021. He said the officer noted it was driving erratically and so tried to stop it but the defendant drove off.
The prosecutor said: “It made off onto Lara Croft Way, Babington Lane and Back Sitwell Street which is a one-way street. He got out and started running away, threw a bottle at the officers, tripped and was caught.
“He appeared intoxicated and on being arrested said something along the lines of someone else putting him up to it.”
Mr Welshman said the Peugeot had been stolen hours earlier from outside an address in Heanor. He said the woman who owned it was woken by the police at around 1.40am after they had caught Wallis in Derby.
The prosecutor said: “She found that her house had been broken into and a number of items had been stolen including a Stella McCartney bag, a bottle of Hendrick’s (gin), a bottle of Bailey’s, the keys to the car and the car itself .
“He had gained access to the address having climbed over a fence, unlocked the back door and got in. His DNA was found at the address on a lighter.”
Wallis, now of Market Street, Heanor, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft, and has 14 convictions for 43 offenses.
In a victim impact statement, read to the court, the woman whose house he burgled said: “I always felt safe in my own house but for months after (the offense) felt anxious.
“It is worrying because my son was in the house and no one should be able to trespass in my home. I feel anxious this could happen again.”
Stephen Cooper, mitigating, said his client has embraced the support available over the past 12 months.
He said: “He is a Derby man who moved to that area still very much in the grip of addiction and still struggling to overcome it. The victim impact statement makes harrowing reading.”
As part of the suspended sentence, Wallis was ordered to attend 20 rehabilitation sessions and carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.