Burglar weeps in court before being sent to prison
NEIGHBOURS of a pensioner were praised for their bravery by catching a burglar red-handed.
Recorder Tahir Khan said John Gibbons and his wife behaved in a public-spirited way when they found Glen Sylvester in the garden with a haul of goods stolen from an elderly neighbour.
Sylvester, 33, of Alder View, Grimsby, wept at Grimsby Crown Court as the burglary of the 82-year-old, in Great Coates Road, on September 19, was described.
He admitted the offence, which was his third conviction for burglary, and was sentenced to serve three years in prison.
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Recorder Khan, speaking of Mr Gibbons, said: "He did not let his grip go until the burglar had handed over the stolen goods.
"That sort of action deserves recognition by this court and I wish to thank him for his conduct."
The court was told how Sylvester ran off but returned moments later to retrieve his bicycle, which he had left in the driveway of the property he targeted.
He also made a desperate attempt to retrieve the stolen goods.
Addressing Sylvester, Recorder Khan said: "You persisted and went back to retrieve the pedal cycle and tried to get back the stolen property.
"This was an unpleasant burglary committed against an elderly and vulnerable victim."
He said the goods were not just of monetary value but had a high sentimental value.
Prosecuting, Helen Wheatley said the victim had been tending to her front garden when Sylvester crept in at the rear.
Stolen was a purse containing £80 cash and jewellery, including a diamond engagement ring. The haul, taken away in a pillow case, was valued at up to £1,500.
As he made his getaway, Sylvester clambered over the fence of her neighbour, Mr Gibbons, who was in the garden.
Mr Gibbons grappled with the burglar while his wife dialled 999. Sylvester abandoned his haul of stolen property and jumped over the garden fence.
Miss Wheatley said the defendant returned moments later to the front of the house.
As he attempted to pick up his bicycle, he also grabbed at the pillow case held by Mrs Gibbons.
She held firm, so Sylvester gave up his futile attempt and fled.
Mitigating, Simon Hirst said his client had not targeted elderly people before.
Prior to the offence he said he had stayed out of trouble for two years and had attended drug intervention programmes, but in May he lost his job.
He asked the Recorder to take another offence at Hunter's Close, Grimsby, into consideration, but no details of that offence were given to the court.