A bungling burglar who stole jewellery worth £12,000 was locked up after leaving blood at two houses, a phone shop and Hugh Baird College.
Adam Barnes tried to smash his way into five properties in the space of a few weeks shortly after being released from prison on licence.
Barnes, of Benedict Street, Bootle, stole “out of desperation” after finding himself with no home, money or support when he left jail.
He struck at a house on Hawthorne Avenue, Bootle, where he left the homeowners and their one-year-old daughter terrified as he tried to smash through the porch at 9pm on January 21. Police were called and he was arrested nearby and found to be carrying a kitchen knife and some sweets which had earlier stolen from a nearby shop.
Barnes, 33, was initially released under investigation and went on to carry out a further spree before glass from his clothes was proved to match that from the broken window.
In a victim impact statement read out at Liverpool Crown Court, the mum living at the house said that she had been left too scared to be alone at home and often had to call family round while her partner worked nights.
They have also paid out more than £2,000 for CCTV, burglar alarms and repairs, “money which the family could not really afford at the time”.
One night after the first offence, Barnes used a paving slab to break into his next target.
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Prosecuting, Iain Criddle said: “On February 22, the alarm was activated at Hugh Baird College. Entry was gained and damage was caused to two doors and two computers.
“CCTV showed the defendant slamming the door with a paving slab and climbing through the door.
“Damage caused equalled £5,000 and the defendant was linked to this by DNA in blood found at the scene.”
Leaving empty handed, he then moved onto a house on Exeter Road where he attempted to smash his way in but was scared off when neighbours called police.
The homeowner, Christopher Frost, was out when Barnes tried to get in but found blood on his gate and window and was left with a £450 bill for repairs.
The prolific thief, who has 33 previous convictions including four jail terms for burglary, then moved onto the 3 mobile phone shop on Stanley Road.
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Mr Criddle said: “The defendant smashed a door with an implement, climbed through and attempted to steal dummy phones but left empty handed.
“He was identified because he again cut himself and left blood at the scene.”
Two days later, Barnes’s spree moved to Burscough as he ransacked a home on Junction Lane to steal cash, antique jewellery, a purse and a tablet computer.
The haul even included glucose reading equipment used by the diabetic homeowner. Her jewellery collection included antique items collected over 40 years as well as pieces inherited from her parents and grandparents, while the other items were valued at £3,000.
Blood was left all over the house including the staircase, bannister, walls and carpets and the stolen tablet contained priceless photos from the last 10 years.
In a victim statement, homeowner Robert Hales said the robbery had strongly impacted him and his wife and he felt “angry and violated that it’s the only space the kids ever felt secure and that has been shattered”.
His wife, named only in court as Mrs Hales, said she felt unsafe to be in her own home and could not go through the front door alone for fear of what she would find.
Barnes initially denied the burglaries when questioned by police, telling detectives that he was in prison at the time, only to be confronted with the DNA evidence.
Defending, Peter Hunter said Barnes had been left homeless after his release from prison and acted out of desperation.
He said Barnes had managed to get his life back on track in the months between the offences and him being charged, finding work and rebuilding a relationship with his estranged parents.
He said Barnes was apologetic to all his victims and accepted he was going to prison for a long time.
Mr Hunter said: “He had no home, no address and no money and ended up walking the streets with nothing.
“He spent months trying to find a home with some help from social services and in that time, out of desperation came the burglaries.”
He added: “The nature of the offences are not sophisticated, it starts with him stealing sweets just to eat.
“It’s not a case of him stealing for a jolly, it was to live, to eat, to be warm.
“He’s genuinely ashamed. He didn’t do it to have a lavish lifestyle, it was desperation.”
Sentencing, Judge Dennis Watson QC told Barnes he had terrified his victims.
He said: “These are traumatic events for the house holders of the properties you decided to intrude.”
After pleading guilty to four burglaries, two attempted burglaries and possessing an offensive weapon, Barnes was jailed for a total of four years and eight months.