Burglar ransacked his own flat to cover tracks

Stephen Corless, from Leyland
Stephen Corless, from Leyland
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A booze-fuelled burglar raided his neighbour’s home then ransacked his own flat to cover his tracks.

Stephen Corless, 42, was spotted by neighbours carrying a pair of ladders on the day of the raid in Ward Street, Lostock Hall.

Corless was with a group of three other men - who he has refused to name - when they stole more than £6,000 of computer equipment and personal possessions from neighbour Brian Harker, knowing he would be away for the weekend.

Preston Crown Court heard lab technician Mr Harker returned to his flat to find the patio doors had been forced.

The lock mechanism was on the kitchen floor and there were obscenities scrawled in permanent marker across the windows and projector screens.

He also noticed the door to the neighbouring flat was open and there was no sign of the resident, Corless.

Kim Obrusik, prosecuting, said: “Neighbours witnessed this defendant with a pair of ladders on May 8 and had seen the defendant and another male carrying large bags of items on that day.”

Following his arrest Corless admitted he had forced entry to the flat and told officers he had daubed graffiti in his own flat and “messed it up” to make it look like he had been also been burgled.

James Hawkes, defending, said his client had been fuelled by drink and cocaine on the day of the raid.

However he had maintained good relations with the landlord and had since returned to both flats to repair the damage he had caused.

He had also made efforts to recover the computer monitors he had stolen, which he had sold for £25 each.

Recorder Andrew Long, sentencing, jailed Corless, of Headley Road, Leyland, for 16 months less 38 days he has spent on remand.