Folkestone thief who trashed Christmas is jailed for three of them

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A Christmas present thief who left his hat at the scene of his crime has been sentenced to four years and 10 months’ imprisonment.

Nicholas Rooney, 54, of Bouverie Road West, Folkestone, claimed he was drunk when he clambered through the bathroom window of a property in Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, on Wednesday 11 December 2019.

Once inside he stole a number of wrapped presents including clothing, jewellery and alcohol, and also took a number of bottles of aftershave and perfume, a tablet computer and other belongings worth a total of approximately £750.

But Rooney’s offending caught up with him when he was forensically linked to a beanie hat and face covering found in the bathroom sink, leading to his arrest on Friday 10 January 2020.

Officers who searched his home address found a small number of the stolen items, which Rooney said he did not realise were there. He claimed in interview that he felt guilty for what he had done and had placed the presents and other possessions in a bin near the victims’ home in the hope they would find them.

Rooney later pleaded guilty to burglary and was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday 27 February 2020.

Detective Inspector Nigel Douglas of Folkestone CID said: ‘Burglary is a terrible crime that can have a long-lasting impact on victims, as there are few things worse than knowing someone has entered your home uninvited and helped themselves to your belongings.

‘Nicholas Rooney has expressed remorse for his actions and admitted his involvement at the earliest opportunity, although that is no excuse for the upset caused to the couple whose home he violated during his search for any items of value.

‘I hope he will use his time in prison to reflect on the consequences of his actions and ensure he does not cause any further harm to innocent members of the public upon his release.’