Burglar jailed after trying to enter home through cat flap
A burglar who attempted to gain entry to a home through a cat flap has been sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Richard Barham attempted to burgle the home in Rainham in October 2018 but was hindered by a cat flap before going on to commit two further burglaries.
On one occasion he was interrupted by the victim, who took a photo of him on their mobile phone, but he successfully stole high value jewellery and electronic equipment from a different home in Gillingham.
The 35-year-old, of Rainham High Street, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary and was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 7 March 2019.
The court heard that on Friday 12 October Barham attempted to gain entry to a home in The Willows.
The victim returned home in the evening to see the plastic edge around a cat flap had been pulled off and the flap itself was found inside the property – revealing the offender had stuck their arm through the hole to try and gain entry.
CCTV enquiries revealed Barham had been in the area at the time of the offence.
Eight days later Barham attempted to burgle a home in Moor Street, Rainham.
On this occasion the victim left their home to make a brief visit to a nearby shop. They returned after 30 minutes and noticed the handle to their back door was at an unusual angle.
A second entrance door had also been damaged and they had to climb onto their balcony to gain entry to the property.
As they were going inside, they saw Barham on their driveway and called out to him.
Barham claimed he had just knocked on the door to ask if any rubbish needed clearing and the victim was able to take a picture of him on their mobile phone before he left the scene.
Barham was identified from the picture and later arrested.
Barham also burgled a home in Second Avenue, Gillingham, on 18 October.
On this occasion he forced open patio doors and stole two games consoles, four smartphones and a large amount of high value jewellery, including a luxury watch and a gold engagement ring.
During the burglary he cut himself and a small amount of blood, which provided a DNA match for him, was found on the draw of a bedside cabinet.
Detective Constable Dan Bister, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the two Rainham offences, said: ‘Barham is a repeat burglar and I have little doubt that if he wasn’t arrested when he was, he would have continued to target innocent members of the public.
‘The quality of evidence we were able to present to the court meant he had no choice but to plead guilty and the sentence he has received is entirely justified.’