A HOMELESS man carried out a house burglary and took an elderly woman’s mobility vehicle in a mini spree following the death of his father, a court heard.

Durham Crown Court was told Ashley Fairhurst was rendered homeless as the property in which he was living was registered in the name of his father, who died after a return of throat cancer, earlier this year.

The defendant entered a property in Brantwood Terrace, Bishop Auckland, in the early hours of May 22.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the householder thought he heard a knocking noise at about 3am and when he fully awoke later he realised the rear door was unlocked and an intruder had entered, taking a wallet containing £150, bank cards and a lap-top.

Later that day Fairhurst made two attempts to make small purchases using one of the cards, at a local shop, but both were declined.

Mr Soppitt said the mobility vehicle, a Seat Arona, was taken from outside the home of the owner, a woman in her 80s, in Ferryhill, overnight between June 19/20.

It was recovered nearby and when arrested, Fairhurst admitted all matters, indicating he was homeless at the time.

The 31-year-old defendant, formerly of Lambton Road, Ferryhill, admitted burglary, fraud and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

It put him in breach of a community order, imposed by magistrates on May 3, for persistently contacting residents in Ferryhill making demands for money to clean windows and do other jobs.

Mr Soppitt said the Crown intends to make an application for a criminal behaviour order against Fairhurst due to the harassment caused to the people of Ferryhill.

Liam O’Brien, mitigating, said his client, “found himself in a difficult situation and committed the offences out of desperation”, following his father’s death, losing his accommodation and developing a heroin addiction.

Judge Ray Singh said he took into account the defendant’s circumstances at the time, but he said the latest offences were committed only a matter of weeks after Fairhurst received the community order and while he remained on post-prison release supervision.

Imposing an 18-month prison sentence, Judge Singh added: “I’m afraid you have come to the end of the road.

“You appear to have done your level best not to comply with the community order.”


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